Skip to main content

Full text of "The Wapentake of Wirral; a history of the Royal Franchise of the Hundred and Hundred Court of Wirral in Cheshire, with an appendix containing a list of the officers and lords of the Hundred from the fourteenth century; a series of leases of the Hundred from 1352 to 1786; and the Crown Grant of the lordship of the Hundred in 1820"

See other formats






< - 

s I 

D 2 

O = 

r* -S" 


This edition is limited to 250 copies. 


A History of the Royal Franchise of the 

Hundred and Hundred Court of 

Wirral in Cheshire 


An Appendix containing a List of the Officers and Lords 

of the Hundred from the Fourteenth Century ; a 

Series of Leases of the Hundred from 1352 

to 1786; and the Crown Grant of the 

Lordship of the Hundred in 1820 








LITTLE more than fifty years ago, within the memory 
of some now alive, there existed in Wirral a court of 
so-called justice owned by a private individual and 
upwards of a thousand years old. The power of sum- 
moning jurors, of fining offenders, of deciding the law, 
of ordering payment of debts, of levying distresses, has 
so long been associated by the present generation with 
courts administered by officials of the State, that it is 
difficult to imagine such powers in the hands of a 
private citizen. Yet for some years in the fifties the 
inhabitants of Birkenhead, Tranmere, Bebington, Neston, 
and other parts of Wirral went in daily fear of such a 

The only attempt at an account of the Wapentake 
or Hundred Court of Wirral is contained in the last 
chapter of Mrs. Gamlin's book " 'Twixt Mersey and Dee " 
(Liverpool, 1897) and deals only with the last forty years 
of the Court's existence. The author apparently obtained 
most of her information from a small pamphlet entitled 
"A Free Village Library, Bebington," published in 1878 
for Mr. Joseph Mayer, F.S.A., containing the substance 

of articles which had appeared in the Standard news- 

v a 2 


paper. Mrs. Gamlin's story, so far as it goes, is inter- 
esting, and suggested the need of a fuller account, but 
it contains many inaccuracies. 

So extraordinary and incredible were these last years 
of the Court that the writer of Mr. Mayer's pamphlet 
classes the Wirral Wapentake with the " Cheiro-therium, " 
traces of which were found near Bebington, and it was 
the performances of such a mysterious and powerful 
monster as he made it out to be that aroused my interest 
and led me to make the investigations the results of which 
are here set down. 

The Hundred Courts of the County Palatine of Chester 
have been neglected by the writers of Cheshire history. 
One naturally turns first to the pages of Ormerod for 
information, but that given by him is very meagre. The 
Court of Wirral is dismissed with the bald and misleading 
statement that in 1816 it was farmed under the Crown, 
but it was no longer in existence. The accounts of those 
of Broxton, Eddisbury, Northwich, and Nantwich are 
scarcely any fuller. A little more detail is given of those 
of Macclesfield and Bucklow, and in the latter case dates 
and references to two Crown leases are given. In Mor- 
timer's "History of the Hundred of Wirral," where one 
would expect to find full details, very little more in- 
formation is given as to the Court of that Hundred. He 
prints (with many errors) a copy of the deed under 
which it was granted in 1820 to John Williams, but 
makes no attempt to carry the matter further. Sulley, 


in his " Hundred of Wirral," makes no reference to the 
Court at all. Other writers on Cheshire history either 
ignore the Court entirely, or just mention its existence. 

It will be seen, however, that there are in the Cheshire 
Recognisance Rolls and Ministers' Accounts, and else- 
where in the Record Office, a series of Leases and 
records of the officers of the Hundred Court of Wirral 
from the year 1352 down to the year 1820. It is true 
that Ormerod refers to a few of the entries on the Recog- 
nisance Rolls, but chiefly in footnotes and merely for the 
purpose of recording the names of the office-holders for 
genealogical purposes. I think I may claim to be the 
first to make any extensive examination of the Cheshire 
Ministers' Accounts for historical purposes. About 250 
years have been examined. The series of leases have 
never been dealt with before, which is remarkable in 
view of the fact that they are leases of the " Hundred 
of Wirral," upon which two special works have been 

As some of the oldest courts of justice in the king- 
dom, the Hundred Courts seem to deserve fuller treat- 
ment than has been given to them, and I have here 
endeavoured to trace, from such records as exist, the 
history of one. I am not aware that the devolution of 
a Hundred franchise has ever been traced in detail before, 
though a similar chain of documents might perhaps be 
unrolled for other Hundreds. But very few Hundred 
Courts were at all active after the end of the eighteenth 


century, and it is more than doubtful if the last years 
of the Wapentake of Wirral have any parallel. 

My aim in writing this book has been, in the first 
place, to make it an accurate record of facts ; and 
though, as a secondary object, I have tried to make it 
as readable as I could, from the very nature of the subject 
it has not been possible to avoid some dry details and a 
certain amount of legal technicality. At the risk of 
making the narrative a little jerky, I have generally dealt 
with events in chronological order. 

To those to whom the ancient history of so prosaic 
an institution as a law court may present little interest, 
a suggestion is made. It is that they read Part II. of 
this history first. If then, as can hardly fail to be the 
case, after reading of the extraordinary events, some of 
which took place little more than fifty years ago, they feel 
any curiosity as to the origin and history of the legal 
powers so grossly abused, the early part of this book 
may, I hope, enable them to satisfy it. 

One word as to the title of this book. The Hundreds 
of Cheshire were never called Wapentakes, and that word 
does not occur in any records of the Court of Wirral 
except in the Act of Parliament abolishing it. But it has 
been commonly used to describe it, and as the existence 
of two works on the " Hundred of Wirral" renders that 
title unavailable, I have been left to adopt one which, 
historically, is perhaps inappropriate. 

My thanks are due to Joseph Hoult, Esq., J.P., for 


kindly allowing" me to see documents and deeds relat- 
ing to the Wirral Manor House ; to Messrs. Roberts 
and Martyn of Chester for readily allowing access to the 
title-deeds from 1820 to the present date, and for some 
interesting information ; to Mr. E. A. Roberts, the occu- 
pant of the Manor House, for particulars of the Court- 
house and for leave to photograph it ; to John Bingham, 
Esq., for the photograph ; to Messrs. J. M. Quiggin and 
Son for valuable information with regard to the events 
subsequent to Samuel H. Moreton's death ; to William 
Farrer, Esq., A. Ballard, Esq., B.A., LL.B., E. Stewart- 
Brown, Esq., M.A., William Cooper, Esq., W. Fer- 
gusson Irvine, Esq., F.S.A., Andrew Commins, Esq., 
LL.D., Robert Gladstone, Esq., Jun., B.C.L., M.A., 
Captain F. C. Beckett, Mr. Thomas Smith of Birkenhead, 
and Mr. Thomas Field, for assistance in many details ; 
to the Board of Treasury for particulars of the com- 
pensation paid on the abolition of the Hundred Court ; 
to the Commissioners of Woods, Forests, and Land 
Revenues ; and to many others who have kindly replied 
to inquiries. The standard works on constitutional and 
legal history have been laid under contribution, whilst the 
Calendar of the Cheshire Recognisance Rolls has been 

The collection of the information from the Record 
Office, county histories, old newspapers, legal proceed- 
ings, ancient inhabitants, and many other sources has been 
no slight task. Mr. W. K. Boyd has taken great trouble 


and interest in making extracts for me from the Cheshire 
Ministers' Accounts. Many of the entries are obscure, 
but I have done my best to get at their meaning and 
consulted persons of greater experience than myself. As 
regards the last years of the Court's existence, I found 
there are only very few persons living who have any 
personal recollection of the facts connected with its aboli- 
tion, and in a few years more many details would have 
been lost for ever. There are gaps and omissions which 
I should like to have avoided, and doubtless errors which 
will be pointed out ; but I venture to hope they are not 
serious, and that in spite of them the facts will be thought 
worth recording. 




WIRRAL, November 1907. 

M. A. = Ministers' Accounts (Cheshire). 

C. R. R. = Cheshire Recognisance Rolls (Welsh Records). 

C. P. R. = Cheshire Plea Rolls (Welsh Records). 











WIRRAL FROM 1352 28 


THEIR DUTIES, 1352-1402 39 

VI. THE HUNDRED OF WIRRAL, 1403-1509 52 








(continued) ........... 121 







WIRRAL . . . . . . . . . .161 


(1) Farms of the Hundred of Wirral, 1352 175 

(2) Lease of the Bedelry to Henry le Bruyn and Richard de Prest- 

lond, 1391 177 

(3) Lease of the Bedelry to Thomas de Waley, 1397 . . . .177 

(4) Lease of the Bedelry to John de Saynesbury and Hugo de Brum- 

burgh, 1403. . . . . 177 

(5) Henry VI.'s Lease to Sir Thomas Stanley and others, 1445 . .178 

(6) Henry VI I.'s Lease to Robert Trafford, 1507 178 

(7) Henry VIII.'s Lease to John ap Ithell and James Bebynton, 1509 179 

(8) Queen Elizabeth's Lease to Cuthbert Venables, 1596 . . . 179 

(9) Charles I.'s Lease to William Trafford, 1628 181 

(10) Charles I I.'s Lease to John Carter, 1662 185 

(i I ) Charles I I.'s Lease to Thomas Dod, 1679 l %7 

(12) Queen Anne's Lease to John Scorer, 1704 190 

(13) George I I.'s Lease to John Glegg, 1734 192 

(14) George I I.'s Lease to John Glegg, 1759 195 

(15) Assignment of the Hundred to John Glegg, 1768 . . . .197 

(16) George 1 1 I.'s Lease to John Glegg, 1786 198 

(17) The Crown Grant to John Williams, 1820 199 







Meaning of Hundred and Wapentake The Hundred Franchise Civil and 
Criminal jurisdiction Forty Shillings limit View of Frankpledge Subjects 
of Enquiry The Judgers The Affeerors The Suitors The Sheriff's Turn. 

THE Hundred of Wirral is one of the seven Hundreds 
of Cheshire, and is the name given to the narrow strip 
of land which separates the Mersey from the Dee. The 
object of the present work is to give a chronological 
account, so far as it can be gathered from existing 
records, of the Wapentake or Hundred Court of Wirral. 
The history of the Hundred itself and its inhabitants 
forms no part of the writer's scheme, and for it reference 
must be made to other works. 

After a brief explanation of the nature of a Hundred 
Court, a few scattered references to that of Wirral will 
be used to throw light on its history up to the middle 
of the fourteenth century, when the records of Cheshire 
really begin. For the following five hundred years it 


will be possible to trace, almost without a break, the 
many hands through which this Law Court passed, and 
to follow it, through gradual decay from natural causes, 
to a final spasm of scandalous activity, leading to its 
ultimate extinction in our own times. 

Before embarking, therefore, upon the details of the 
history of the Court of Wirral, a short account of the 
nature and jurisdiction of a Wapentake or Hundred 
Court will first be given. A scientific or critical exami- 
nation will not be attempted, but only sufficient will 
be set down to enable the reader to appreciate what 
is subsequently related. 

All our Courts of justice doubtless had their origin 
in the natural instinct of men to meet together for the 
discussion of their affairs, for their mutual defence, and 
for the settlement of their disputes. The development 
of such meetings into organised and periodical Folk- 
moots, and their subdivisions into village meetings, 
tribal meetings, and national assemblies, each under its 
recognised leader, have been exhaustively dealt with by 
many writers ; and it is sufficient to say, with regard 
to pre-Anglo-Saxon times, that the Hundred Courts 
(to take the subdivision with which we are here con- 
cerned), undoubtedly originated in primitive meetings, 
generally in the open air, of bodies of persons having 
community of interests by reason of local residence. 

The origin of Hundreds and Wapentakes is mainly 
a matter of speculation upon which a great deal has 


already been written, and no attempt will here be made to 
discuss it. The division of England into Hundreds per- 
haps dates from the seventh or eighth century, and both 
Hundreds and Wapentakes 1 are mentioned in the laws of 
Edgar (A.D. 959-975), by which time the term " hundred " 
had lost all numerical significance. For present pur- 
poses " hundreds" and " wapentakes" may be treated 
as synonymous, and meaning territorial divisions of a 
shire. A shire was divided into so many hundreds or 
wapentakes, each of the latter comprising so many 
vills or townships. 

In Anglo-Saxon times the two principal local courts 
of justice in the shire were a Hundred Court for each 
Hundred or Wapentake, and the Shire Court for the 
whole county. The profits of jurisdiction in the former 
(with which alone we have to deal) were a Royal per- 
quisite or franchise and belonged to the King, but 
frequently were granted to individuals or churches. 
The possession or Lordship of a Hundred did not imply 
any rights of property in the land within the Hundred, 
but only a liberty or franchise to hold the Hundred 
Court and to exercise certain rights and privileges in 
connection with it. The periodical gatherings together 
of the men of the Hundred for judicial and military 
purposes became so identified with the district as to 
be called "the Hundred," or "the Wapentake," and so 

1 Wapentake = the taking stock and count of the weapons of the able-bodied 
men of the district a weapon-showing or local muster (Latin Monstrare, to show). 


those expressions came to be used to mean either the 
district or the Court. 

A Hundred Court had both civil and criminal juris- 
diction within the Hundred. In Anglo-Saxon days folk- 
right and custom would be declared at the sittings of the 
Court and the law expounded to the people of the 
Hundred. The profits of the Court were collected for the 
King by the royal " reeve" or bailiff of the Hundred. 
The Court would be presided over, or at any rate con- 
vened, by the Hundred-man or head of the Hundred. 

As regards civil jurisdiction, a Hundred Court exer- 
cised practically the same authority in the Hundred 
as the Court Baron did in the manor. Besides con- 
troversies respecting land, it entertained personal suits 
for debt, trespass, &c., originally to any amount, but in 
the reign of Edward I. a limit of forty shillings 1 was 
placed on all suits in inferior courts, such as those 
of the Hundred and County. 

The criminal jurisdiction of the Court after the 
Norman conquest was exercised in the Court Leet and 
View of Frankpledge, and the Sheriff's Tourn. One of 
the original objects of the View was to inspect the free- 
men of the Hundred to see that each was present and 
had the necessary sureties for his good conduct. In 
course of time this safeguard for the peace of the 

1 Probably by the effect of the Stat. of Gloucester, 1278. This sum, equal to 
about 30 of our money, of course then represented a far larger jurisdiction than 
in later years. The limit existed when the Courts were abolished in the nineteenth 
century, and was no doubt one of the many causes contributing to their decay. 


Hundred lost its significance, but the necessity of attend- 
ing the Court remained, and suitors who neglected to do 
so were fined. 

Beside the viewing of the freeholders, and after it 
became obsolete, the criminal business of the Court con- 
sisted in judicial enquiries into a variety of matters, 
including certain crimes and misdemeanours in the 
Hundred, minor breaches of the peace, and offences 
against public trade. Among the subjects of enquiry 
were encroachments, stoppage of ways, housebreakers, 
thieves, affrays, escapes, forgers, treasure trove, breakers 
of the assize of bread and ale, false measures and 
weights, and two classes of persons whom we still meet 
with, namely, "such as continually haunt taverns and no 
man knoweth whereon they do live," and "such as sleep 
by day and walk by night, and eat and drink well and 
have nothing." 1 The more serious offences were only 
punishable in the Royal Courts. 

The judges or "judgers" of the Court were twelve 
"good and law-worthy" (legalis] men of the Hundred, 
usually yeomen with a sprinkling of knights and persons 
of standing. The method of business was that these 
"judgers," and also any of the suitors who knew of the 
commission of any offence, "presented," or publicly 
notified, the offender at the Court. If the offence was 
proved, he was placed "in mercy" and either fined or 
made to give sureties for his behaviour, or the offence was 

1 Stat. de Visu Franciplegii 18 Edward II. 


reported to the Royal Courts for punishment. The 
essential difference between this body of "judgers " and 
the modern jury was that the "judgers" were chosen 
for their local knowledge, and presented offences which 
they personally knew to have been committed. They 
were not, like the modern jury, simply judges of facts of 
which they had, in theory, no previous knowledge. 

The amercements were assessed by two suitors termed 
1 ' affeerors, " whose duties will be explained on a later 
page. 1 Persons under twelve and over sixty, and women, 
were excused from attendance, but all others resident 
in the Hundred were bound to be present, or to give 
satisfactory "essoynes" or excuses. These were the 
"suitors." At a later date (in the reign of Henry III.) 
prelates, clergymen, and peers were exempted, and suitors 
were permitted to appoint attorneys to do suit for them. 
The Court sat monthly and was presided over by the 
Bailiff or Steward of the Hundred, and the profits went 
to the owner of the Hundred. Twice a year, however, 
after Easter and Michaelmas, the Sheriff of the County 
would go on his "Tourn," or circuit, and preside at the 
Leet. It was probably only at these two sittings of the 
Court that suit and service was due, and consequently 
the Court would be more largely attended than at the 
monthly sittings. The fines and fees on these two days 
went to the Crown or to the Sheriff if he farmed his 

1 See post, page 112. 


The criminal or police jurisdiction of the Hundred 
Courts gradually became of less importance consequent 
upon the establishment of Justices of the Peace with 
concurrent jurisdiction, and the holding of assizes and 
quarter sessions ; and the Court survived to modern 
times practically only as a Court of limited civil 



The Hundred Court of Wirral Wilaveston the meeting place Predomesday 
times Domesday references The Hundred Court in Norman Days 
Exemptions from attendance Birkenhead Priory Launcelyn of Poulton 
Earl Randle's Charter of Liberties Manor of Neston. 

AFTER having thus very briefly, and without reference to 
chronology, sketched the nature and jurisdiction of a 
Hundred Court, we may turn to the history of that of 
Wirhael, Wyrehale, or Wirral, as it was variously spelt at 
different periods. 

In spite of the absence or scanty nature of early 
records, there can be no doubt that the Hundred Court 
of Wirral existed in an organised form a thousand years 
and more ago. As one of the Hundreds of Cheshire, 
Wilaveston or Wilaston (as Wirral was anciently called) 
would have its Mote which, possibly, at some very early 
time may have met at Thingwall, the Danish "meeting 
town" near Thurstaston. The name "Wilaveston" 
itself probably refers to the meeting place of the 
Hundred. Every Hundred had an appointed place of 
assembly, from which it frequently derived its name. 
Many Hundreds bear the name of a village within their 


borders ; others derived their name from meeting at a 
prominent object such as a well-known stone, barrow, or 
hill. The old Cheshire Hundreds chiefly fell within the 
latter class. 1 Probably the meeting place for Wirral was 
at a stone near where the village of Willaston later 
sprang up. Whether the stone was named after some 
one called Witlaf, 2 or became known as the Wirhael- 
stone, and hence Wilaveston, is a matter of conjecture. 
The existence of such a stone in approximately the 
centre of the Hundred, and the derivation from it of the 
name of the Hundred were suggested some years ago by 
another writer 3 to whom, however, the idea that it was 
the meeting place of the Hundred-mote does not seem 
to have occurred. 

The Hundred of Wilaveston comprised upwards of 
fifty vills or townships, for the most part lying in 
modern Wirral, but including five which are now part 
of the Hundred of Broxton, viz., Upton, Picton, Wervin, 
Trafford, and Guilden Sutton. Each of these townships 
would be represented at the Hundred-mote by their 
reeve and four chief men. The Hundred-man would 
probably be nominated either by the King or by the Earl 
of Mercia, and would be assisted by twelve freeholders 

1 e.g. Bucklow, Exestan, Dudestan, Warmundestrov, Atiscros, &c., see Brownbill, 
"Cheshire in Domesday Book." Hist. Soc. of L. & C., vol. xv., N.S. i. 

For instances of Hundreds elsewhere, see Stubbs' Const. Hist, i., 119-20, 
Ballard's "The Domesday Inquest," and Gomme on " Primitive Folk Moots." 

a As Mr. Brownbill thinks. See his paper already referred to. 

8 W. H. Black, F.S.A., Report on Foreshore Rights, 1868. There is reason to 
believe the stone exists under one of the farm houses in the village. 


of the Hundred in administering justice. By them the 
law of England and the customs of the Hundred would 
be declared, whilst questions of fact would be tried by 
compurgation and ordeal. The profits of the Court 
would be divided between the King and the Earl, the 
latter taking one third as the "3rd penny of the 

From Domesday Book it appears that in the time 
of Edward the Confessor the pleas of the County 
Court and of the Hundred Courts of Cheshire 1 were 
farmed (or leased) by one Mondret (who also farmed 
the City of Chester) for ,50, and one mark of gold. 
We also learn from Domesday Book that the magis- 
trates of the City of Chester were bound to attend the 
sittings of the Hundred Court and were fined xos. if 
they were absent without reasonable excuse, the fine 
being shared between the King and the Earl. 2 

When, upon the conquest of England, William I. 
became feudal owner of the whole country, he conse- 
quently became Lord of all Hundreds and entitled to 
the revenues of all the Hundred Courts. These royal 
franchises in the case of most Hundreds remained 
vested in the Crown for generations, though in some 
cases the Lordship was sold or granted outright. The 
Hundreds of Cheshire, however, were part of the pos- 

1 The pleas from the cantred of Inglefield were excepted. 

2 "Siquis de Hundret remanebat die quo sedebat sine excusatione manifest;!, 
x solidis emendabat inter regem et comitem." 


sessions given by the Conqueror to the Norman Earls 
of Chester, and remained alienated from the Crown, 
until, upon the death of John Scot, Earl of Chester, in 
1237, Henry III. took the earldom back into the hands 
of the Crown, created his son Edward Earl of Chester, 
and granted to him, amongst other things, all the 
Hundreds and Hundred Courts possessed by the 
Norman Earls of the County. 1 

The Court of Wirral up to the time of the Con- 
queror would be attended by such of the Abbots and 
Priors of the county as possessed lands in the Hundred 
and had no charter of exemption. Ecclesiastical suits 
would be tried there, and possibly the Bishop sat with 
the Sheriff to assist him to decide them. William I. 
very soon removed all such pleas into the ecclesiastical 
courts. But the Church dignitaries who owned lands 
in the Hundred, and their tenants, would still be obliged, 
as a rule, to attend and do suit and service, though in 
many cases we shall find they were excused. The 
attendance of ecclesiastics at the Hundred Courts was 
entirely abolished in the last years of Henry III. 2 
Whilst the Hundred of Wilaveston was under the 
Norman Earls, the Court would be an important asset 
in their hands, both as a check on the undue growth 
in influence of the Abbot of St. Werburgh and the 
Prior of Birkenhead, and as a source of revenue. 

1 See Ormerod (1882), i. 150, where the deed is printed. 
a Stat. of Marlborough, 1267. 


There are very few records relating to the Court at 
these early dates. But we may feel sure that the 
Hundred-man and some of the freeholders formed 
part of the jury whose oath supplied to the King's 
Commissioners the details required for their survey of 
the Hundred contained in Domesday Book. The in- 
formation there given, however, relates to the fiscal 
resources of the Hundreds, and the organisation and 
jurisdiction of the Hundred Courts are not explained. 

One of the earliest reminders of the existence of 
the Court of Wirral arises out of the strong religious 
feeling of the times, which made it of importance to 
gain the goodwill of the Church, for which purpose many 
privileges were granted. During the twelfth century 
one of the Randies, Earl of Chester, granted to the 
Prior of Birkenhead and to his monks that they and 
their freemen should be free and quit of the burden 
of paying suit to the Hundred Court of Wilaveston. 
Apparently the monks used to pay to the Sheriff eight- 
pence (as Sheriff's aid, or perhaps in lieu of attendance 
at the Turn), and of this also they were relieved. Many 
years afterwards, in the reign of Edward III., the Prior 
of Birkenhead was called upon to prove his right to 
this exemption, and produced the charter from Earl 
Randle as evidence. It also appears from this enquiry 
that the Prior had been improperly holding a Court 
for the enforcement amongst his tenants of the assize 
of bread and beer, offences against which were only 


presentable at the Hundred Court in the absence of a 
grant of special power to do so in a manorial Court. 
The Prior disclaimed any right to do this, 1 and it was 
ordered that the privilege be taken into the hands of 
the Earl, so that the Prior's tenants offending against 
the assize might be in attendance at the Turn of the 
Sheriff in the Hundred Court. The Prior was amerced 
for his presumption. 2 

Privileges similar to those granted to the Birkenhead 
Priors were also granted to the Abbot of St. Werburgh, 
and to the monks of Dieulacres ; and in the reign of 
Henry III. we find the local Bishop (then of Lichfield 
and Coventry) claiming a general exemption for him- 
self and tenants from attendance at the Hundred 
Courts. 3 

Favoured individuals also obtained these privileges. 
Robert Launcelyn of Poulton-in-Wirral was granted by 
Randle Meschines, one of the Norman Earls of Chester, 
exemption, for himself and his tenants of the Manors of 
Poulton and Nether Bebington, from attendance both 
at the Hundred and Shire Courts. This charter was 
pleaded by one of the family in the reign of Edward III., 

1 A right to enforce the assize in his Court at Shotwick had been successfully 
set up by the Abbot in the reign of Edward II., noted p. 64, vol. xix.-xx., N. S., 
Trans. Hist. Soc. of Lanes, and Ches. 

2 The plea is badly printed in Ormerod (1882), vol. ii. 462. It is there noted 
that this plea to quo warranto contains perhaps the last instance of the use of the 
name of " Wilaston" for " Wirral." A marginal note in the plea seems to have been 
necessary at that date to explain their identity. 

3 Quo warranto. Hen. III. 


and the Sheriff ordered to allow the privilege. 1 Another 
exempted person in Wirral was Sir William Troutbeck 
of Dunham who, in the reign of Henry VI., claimed for 
himself and his tenants of the Manors of Little Neston 
and Hargrave, freedom from all suit to the Hundred 
Court, a privilege no doubt dating from Norman times. 2 

Mention must also be made of a comprehensive 
charter granted by one of the Randies to a William Fitz 
Gerard which, besides freeing him from suit of court 
both for County and Hundred throughout all the Earl's 
lands, granted to him house bote, hay bote, and fire 
bote, with license to purchase land. 3 

Early in the thirteenth century the third Randle, 
Earl of Chester, gave a general charter 4 of privileges 
to his barons which will be referred to again later on. 
Amongst other things, it provided that if any "judger" 
(or juror) or any suitor of the Hundred or County Court 
should be amerced in the Earl's Court, the "judger" 
should go free on payment of two shillings, and the 

1 Cheshire Plea Rolls, 4 & 5 Ed. III. m. 12. The same charter was exhibited 
temp. Hen. VII. by William Launcelyn, additional information being- given that the 
charterers were only to answer for offences before the Chief Justice of Chester, and 
that Robert Launcelyn was to give the Earl one bay charger. C. P. R. undated but 
20 Hen. VII. m. 16. 

' Ormerod (1882), ii. 39. Exemption from service on juries of the Hundred and 
County Court was granted to Hamo de Mascy on account of the good service done 
for the Earl of Gascony and especially at the battle of Poictiers (C. P. R. 36-39 Ed. 
III. m. 7); also to Sir John Massy (C. P. R. 46 & 47 Ed. III. m. 21) and to many 

3 C. P. R. ii & 12 Ed. II. m. 4d. 

Pat. Roll. 28 Ed. I. 


suitor on payment of twelve pence, a provision illustrat- 
ing the relative importance of such persons. An im- 
portant concession was made by giving each baron 
liberty to defend all his manors and lordships in the 
Hundred and County Courts by having his own steward 
present there to represent his interests. 

It was customary to promulgate laws and ordinances 
at the Hundred Court. Magna Carta must have been 
there proclaimed, and another instance occurred, upon 
the passing, in 1275, of the batch of laws known as the 
statutes of Westminster, when Edward I. issued a man- 
date by letters patent 1 to the Justiciar of Chester to cause 
these laws to be read and solemnly proclaimed in each 
of the Hundred Courts, and in the County Court, the 
cities, boroughs, and vills merchant of the shire. 

Lands were often held from the Crown under the 
obligation of furnishing a "judger" at the royal and 
local courts. The only case in Wirral found by the 
writer is revealed by the enquiry held on the death, in 
1278, of Robert de Montalt, one of a line of Cheshire 
barons who were hereditary stewards of the earldom. 
We learn that he held the manor of Neston in Wirral 
from the King in capite by the service of rinding a 
"judger " for the County Court and for the Court of the 
Hundred of Wilaveston. 2 

The Hundred Court had no jurisdiction over the 

1 Pat. Roll. 3 Ed. I. 

2 Williamson's Villare Cest. 


Forest of Wirral and all pleas relating to forest law and 
custom were dealt with at the Forest Eyres by royal 
justices. We may infer, perhaps, that during the period 
of Wirral's afforestation, the Hundred Court would not 
be very largely attended. 



Police system of the Earls of Chester Grand Serjeant Handle's charter 
Serjeants of Wirral Farms of Hundred Courts The bedell and bailiff- 
Abuses Inquisition, temp. Edward III. 

SUCH are the very scanty references and facts that can 
be gathered together with regard to the history of the 
Court up to the commencement of the fourteenth century. 
Soon after that date material becomes more abundant. 
But before we plunge into it, an outline of the police 
system of the Earls of Chester is necessary in order to 
appreciate the position of the officials whom we shall 
find controlled the Hundred Courts. 

Before the institution of justices of the peace the 
preservation of law and order was entrusted to certain 
palatine officers, called Serjeants of the peace, under 
the control of a Grand Serjeant. These Serjeants, 
attended by a staff of assistants, known as bedells, 
perambulated the Hundreds, taking cognisance of all 
offences against the peace. They had power to arrest 
offenders, and in early days might instantly behead 
them, if caught in the act, or if sufficient evidence was 
immediately forthcoming, and claim a fee of a shilling 

'? B 


a head from the Earl l ; otherwise they had to present 
the robber or wrongdoer for judgment at the Hundred 
Court, or before the Earl's justice. Their duties also 
included making proclamations, the execution of attach- 
ments and distresses, and the service of summonses 
and writs. The expense of the maintenance (called 
"putura") of these Serjeants and their retinue lay upon 
the Hundred, or rather upon certain of its inhabitants. 
We find that only those persons who resided on what 
were called "Warelands" or "Warlands" were bound 
to afford this maintenance in rotation. The exact nature 
of "Warlands" (from wara = ward) has been the subject 
of much discussion, 2 but as this was chiefly in connec- 
tion with its use in Domesday Book, it is not neces- 
sary to refer to it here. "Wara" means defence or 
protection, 3 and in Domesday seems to have been 
applied to lands which " defended" or exonerated other 
lands from payment of the Danegeld by taking over 
the liability and having their own assessment increased. 
This does not at first seem to be relevant to the 
"Warlands" of Cheshire in the thirteenth and four- 
teenth centuries, but the connection may be found in 
a not unwarrantable assumption* that after the geld 

1 The heads were exhibited at Chester Castle, temp. Edward I. Harl. MSS. 
2115, 2074, 232. For an instance of the payment of the fee to Sir Richard Sutton 
and Isabella his wife, see M. A. 771. 

2 "Villainage in England" (Vinogradoff), i. 241 ; "Feudal England" (Round), 
117, and elsewhere. 

8 See "Borough Customs" (Selden Soc.), vol. ii. clix., and "Feudal England" 
(loc. '/.) 

4 Suggested to the writer by Mr. Ballard, and concurred in by Prof. Vinogradoff. 


ceased to be levied in the twelfth century, the term 
"warland" perhaps became used simply to mean lands 
which acquitted other lands of any renders or pay- 
ments ; and thus was applied to those lands in the 
Hundred from which alone puture for the Serjeants of 
the peace, or forest Serjeants, could be exacted. 1 

From a record of the reign of Edward I. it appears 
that the lowest kind of warland in Cheshire contained 
an acre, and that no puture (for the forest Serjeants at 
least) could be exacted from tenants of less. 2 Payment 
in kind, food, drink, corn, dogs-meat, &c., constituted 
the original "puture," but in course of time it was 
commuted into a monetary payment. 

During their rounds, the Serjeants and bedells had 
to take "pot luck," and were only entitled to demand 
such meat and drink as might happen to be in the 
house when they visited it. Only two, or at the most 
three, of the party would be billeted upon each house, 
and after a supper, a night's rest, and a morning 
meal, they had to move on again, leaving that house 
free from the obligation until its turn came round 
again. 3 

There seems to have been originally twenty Serjeants 

1 "Warland" in Cheshire seems to be the same as "terra puturae": cf. pleas 
of Baron of Dunham Massy (Harl. MSS. 2008), and of Baron of Halton (Ormerod 
(1882), i. 703). 

2 Plea of forester of Delamere (31 Ed. I.), Harl. MSS. 2115, 232, and printed 
Ormerod (1882), ii. 109. 

3 A similar kind of system to the " firma unius noctis " of Domesday, and the 
4 ' gwestva " of Wales. 


(with, of course, numerous sub-servients) for the whole 
of Cheshire, but the charter of Randle the third, 
already mentioned, reduced the number in time of 
peace to twelve, with one horse for the Master Serjeant 
(for which free provender could only be claimed between 
Easter and Michaelmas by courtesy), though in time of 
war the number of the Serjeants was to be regulated 
by the advice of the barons and the judges. An 
attempt to remove a grievance may be recognised in 
the statement in this charter that the Serjeants were no 
longer to exact gifts or sheaves of corn as part of their 
board and lodging. 1 The dignity and jurisdiction of 
the great barons, to be mentioned later, was safe- 
guarded by a provision that the Earl's Serjeants were 
not to eat in any of their manor houses, or to exact 
board and lodging from them. 

The Grand Serjeanty of Cheshire was a hereditary 
office held by the Suttons and other barons of Malpas. 
But the jurisdiction of the Grand Serjeant does not seem 
to have included either Macclesfield or Wirral. 2 The 
Serjeanty of the former was held at the commencement 
of the thirteenth century by one Adam de Sutton, but 
about 1 220 it was granted to the Davenport family, 3 
while the exemption of Wirral from the general system 

1 Cf. the provision in the Forest Charter of Hen. III., that the bedells are not to 
take scotale or sheaves improperly. 

Harl. MSS. 2155, f. 75. 

3 The charter is printed in Earwaker's " East Cheshire," ii. 379. See also Orme- 
rod's "Cheshire " (1882), iii. 61. 


perhaps arose from the fact that in these times it was 
under forest law. A similar system of Serjeants for the 
forests of Cheshire was in force (those in Wirral being 
under the control of the Storetons, and the Stanleys at 
a later date), and their perambulations were no doubt 
sufficient in those days for the preservation of order in 
Wirral in times of peace. At any rate, we find that one 
of the Randies, Earl of Chester, granted a charter 1 to 
the freemen of Wirral acquitting them from all liability 
to feed Serjeants of the peace, but preserving the obli- 
gation to do so in respect to the forest Serjeants through- 
out the whole Hundred, except in the manors of the 
Abbot of Chester (Eastham, Bromborough, Irby, and 
Sutton), whose position in Wirral was perhaps at this 
time almost equal to that of the great barons in other 
parts of Cheshire. This charter, however, still kept 
Wirral liable to find and maintain as many as twelve 
Serjeants if any business rendering them necessary should 
arise. On the de-afforestation of Wirral, the necessity 
for a serjeant with a staff of bedells again arose, though 
the Serjeanty had become by then merely a nominal posi- 
tion, sometimes included in the farm of the Hundred. 

Each of the great barons of Cheshire had his own 
organisation of Serjeants and bedells, who exercised, 
within the limit of their lord's district, much the same 
jurisdiction as the Serjeants of the Earl. A great deal of 
documentary evidence exists, but cannot be dealt with 

1 Pat. Roll, 28 Ed. I. 


here, illustrating in the most ample manner what were 
the duties and privileges of these baronial Serjeants, and 
has been used to throw light upon those of the Earl's 
Serjeants, which would certainly not be less important. 1 

The manner in which the close connection of the 
bedells with the Hundred Court and their control of it 
seems to have arisen must next be traced. 

As the representative of the Earl of Chester, the 
Sheriff was responsible for the revenue of the county, and 
had to render account, at the Earl's exchequer at Chester, 
for the income of the Earl's demesnes and franchises. 
To assist in the collection and realisation of this revenue, 
various officers were appointed, escheators, vendors of 
the goods of felons, and many others. 

The profits from the Hundred Courts of the County 
Palatine contributed a large annual sum, and its col- 
lection was placed in the hands of the officers of the 
Hundred. In many cases the revenue would be simply 
collected by " approvers," but a system grew up of 
farming out the right to collect the profits of the Hun- 
dred Court to the bedells or to the bailiffs. Such farms 
carried with them either the whole or portions of the 
issues of the Hundred, for which the lessee paid a yearly 
rent, and when he took the whole profits, he naturally 
used to preside by himself or a steward in the Hundred 

1 See Ormerod's " Cheshire" (1882), vol. ii. 703 (Halton) ; iii. 61 (Davenport) ; ii. 
601 (Malpas) ; iii. 187 (Kinderton) ; i. 526 (Dunham) ; iii. 790 (Stockport) ; ii. 108 (Dela- 
mere). Also, Earwaker's "East Cheshire," i. 345; ii. 3-7. 


Court. After paying his rent, he made what profit he 
could out of the fees and amercements or so much of 
them as he had leased. If he farmed the whole revenue, 
the bedell became, for the term of his lease, to all intents 
and purposes lord of the Hundred, and as such would 
naturally be a person of considerable importance and 
influence in the county ; and his position must not 
be confused with the lowly one of the mere sheriffs 
officer, whose chief business is to serve writs and levy 

It is not surprising to find the bedells as farmers of 
the Hundred. The Serjeants of the peace (whose assis- 
tants they were) had the duty of presenting offenders at 
the Hundred Court, and were, we shall find, rewarded 
with a portion of the profits. No doubt, in process of 
time, the bedells became localised officials in each Hun- 
dred, the Court of which they would regularly attend. 
Its business would to a considerable extent depend upon 
their activity, and it is therefore natural to find them 
leasing an office, the profits of which their own exertions 
could largely augment. The office of bedell seems 
nearly always to have been held in conjunction with that 
of the bailiff of the Hundred, who was an official of the 
Earl, charged with the execution in the Hundred of the 
royal and palatine writs and commissions. He perhaps 
also assisted to collect subsidies and taxes. He does not 
seem to have taken much part in the local administration 
of justice in the Hundred Courts, but from the fact that 


the same person nearly always held both offices, it is 
very difficult to draw a defining line between the duties 
of bedell and bailiff. But it is the bedell who always 
appears on the Sheriff's accounts in connection with the 
issues of the Hundred, whilst we shall find that it is to 
the bailiff that all royal commissions and orders affecting 
the Hundred are always directed. In course of time 
the two offices practically merged, and we find frequent 
mention of one single " office of bailiff or bedell." No 
one could, of course, be forced to take a lease of either 
office, but there is ground for thinking that the "ap- 
provers " were sometimes appointed without regard to 
their wishes, and were bound to serve a term of office. 
We have, for example, the case of William Partridge, to 
whom, as a special favour, having fallen from his high 
estate, letters patent l were granted by the Prince of 
Wales exempting him, on account of his poverty, from 
being appointed a sheriff's bailiff, bedell, or "catchpol" 
in any Hundred of Cheshire. 

The farming of these offices led to great hardship in 
many parts of England, both on the Sheriffs and on the 
county. Each shire was assessed to a certain rent or 
farm, for the collection of which the Sheriff was personally 
responsible. Each Hundred was rated to this farm, 
which was occasionally raised by royal surveyors. In 
some cases the Sheriff himself used to let the profits of 

1 C. R. R. (1401), No. 75, m. i, d. i. A good description of the bedell, both as 
farmer and approver, is given in Rot. Hund. ii. 204-5. 


the Hundreds at a higher rate than that at which they 
were assessed, the farmers in their turn having to exact 
the increase in some way out of the people. In other 
cases, in spite of the raising of the farm of the shire, 
there would be in existence leases by the Crown of the 
Hundreds at the old rent ; but the Sheriff, notwithstand- 
ing, was made responsible for the increased assessment, 
which he had to account for either out of his own pocket 
or, more usually, by exactions from the people of the 
Hundred. Various laws 1 were passed to remedy these 
and similar grievances, the effect of which was to prevent 
the sale or gift outright of a Hundred, and also to prohibit 
leases except through the Sheriff of the county and at 
the rent for which he was responsible ; the rents were also 
to be reduced to the amounts which formerly had been 
paid. Stringent inquiries were held from time to time 
into the conduct of the sheriffs and bailiffs of the kingdom, 
and many were dismissed for misbehaviour. 

These abuses principally took place in the thirteenth 
century, and, owing to the date when the regular palatine 
records begin, there is little to show whether they occurred 
in Cheshire as in other counties. There can, however, be 
no doubt that they did, and continued to do so, and that 
the Hundreds of Cheshire were farmed by the Earls and 
their Sheriffs in a burdensome manner. This would be 
the easier because the laws of the rest of the kingdom 
could not be enforced in the county, and the remedial 

1 2 Ed. III. c. 12 ; 14 Ed. III. c. 9, &c. 


measures referred to would have little or no effect in it. 
Moreover, we find that in the reign of Edward II. three 
justices itinerant were appointed to inquire into the 
behaviour of the palatine bailiffs and ministers, a com- 
mission doubtless rendered necessary by their exactions 
and abuse of office. In other ways, too, the proceedings 
of the officials had frequently to be looked into. The loss 
or misappropriation of the fees payable in the Hundred of 
Macclesfield in lieu of puture was the subject of inquiries 
in 1281 1 and I283, 2 and in 1357 we find Edward III. 
addressing a letter 3 to the Justice of Chester commanding 
him to summon the Serjeants of the peace, as it was 
alleged they had leased their offices to undutiful persons 
who were slack in maintaining the King's peace and even 
concealed the commission of trespasses. The way in 
which the officers of the Hundreds abused their position 
is clearly shown by an inquisition 4 in the reign of Edward 
III. The freeholders (or charterers) of the county of 
Cheshire complained of undue oppressions and extortions 
practised by the bedells (who were sometimes called 
Serjeants of the Chamber). It seems that up to the 
time of Edward I. and Robert de Bulkyleigh, Sheriff of 
Chester, the bedells had served their summonses in person, 
certified by the testimony of two freeholders at the Courts, 
but subsequently the bedells had forced the freeholders to 
serve the summonses, and took fines from them of one, 

1 Pat. Roll, 9 Ed. I. i. 471. 2 Pat. Roll, II Ed. I. ii. 76. 

3 Close Roll, i Ed. III. i. 226. C. P. R. 4 & 5 Ed. III. m. 15. 


two, or three pence that they should not be sent to do so 
far from home. Later on, the bedells, growing bolder, 
not only delivered to the freeholders the panells of names 
directed to them by the Sheriff, but other panells of un- 
limited names, and forced the freeholders to serve the 
summonses both within and without the Hundred in 
which they lived under pain of a fine. The Justice of 
Chester endeavoured to avoid holding this inquiry as he 
saw it would tend to the great decrease of the revenue of 
the Sheriff, but he was forced to proceed. In the result 
it was decided that the freeholders were bound to serve 
the summonses, but only in their own Hundred, and for 
panells of twenty-four names ; and that they could only be 
called upon to testify to the service at the next sitting of 
the Court. No freeholder was to be called upon to serve 
a second summons 1 until all others in the Hundred had 
served in turn, and the bedells were no longer to take 
gifts, such as straw for thatching (thiggyng] or casual 
meals (fulcenale)* but were only entitled to their puture 
in the houses of persons residing on Warlands. 

1 The summons in the case of the neighbouring Hundred Court of Eddisbury was 
anciently performed by a messenger, who bore a large oaken ball, perforated and 
slung on a leather thong, the ends of which were fixed on an iron bar. After summon- 
ing one township, the messenger was met on the limits of the next by another man, to 
whom he transferred the summons and the ball, which were sent in this manner round 
the Hundred. Ormerod (1882), ii. 4. 

2 Professor Skeat thinks " thiggyng" is the Anglo-Saxon " thiging " = the taking 
of anything to eat or drink (N. & Q. 10 S. viii. 92) ; but for reasons given in N. & Q, 
10 S. viii. 296, the writer thinks it is Anglo-Saxon " theccan " = straw or thatch. The 
writer adopts Professor Skeat's view at the former reference that " fulcenale " may be 
translated as " a casual lunch." Similar kinds of exactions by bedells and forest 
officers were " filctale," or field-ale, and " sothale," or "scotale." 



Decline of the Hundred Courts Their sources of revenue Pelf The Sheriff's 
accounts The issues of the bedelry Prison suit Waifs The rents of Wirral, 

THE development of the system of itinerant justices and of 
trial by jury would in a very great measure detract from 
the importance of the Hundred Courts by removing the 
more important criminal cases from their jurisdiction, and 
in common with other Hundred Courts, we can date the 
decline of that of Wirral from the rise in power of the 
justices of the peace, the establishment of quarter sessions, 
and the changes and improvements in the general judicial 
system effected in the time of Henry III., although all 
these did not have their full effect in the County Palatine. 
This decay of the ancient Courts is amply evidenced by the 
petitions presented in 1376 to the Good Parliament. It is 
clear from them that the Hundred Courts of the kingdom 
were being held irregularly, without due notice, and at 
other than the usual periods. Only a short time before it 
had become necessary to re-enact 1 the provisions of Magna 
Charta that the sittings of the Sheriffs Turn should only 

1 31 Ed. III. c. 15. 



be held after Easter and Michaelmas, owing to the practice 
of Sheriffs of holding it at Lent or at the end of August, 
seasons set apart for devotion and harvest ; but the peti- 
tions show the Sheriffs View of Frankpledge was still 
being demanded at other times, and that the evils produced 
by excessive farming were still alive. 

From this point onward the decline becomes more 
rapid, and the Hundred Court gradually becomes a 
tribunal devoted mainly to the regulation of local privi- 
leges, the collection of small debts, and the settlement 
of petty disputes. It is after the decline had set in that 
regular records relating to the Court of Wirral begin to 
be available. There are none, however, of the sittings, 
or actual proceedings, of the Court for hundreds of years, 
and all we can do is to satisfy ourselves of its continued 
existence by noting the names and terms of office of those 
responsible for its organisation, and by illustrating some 
of the duties which fell upon them as holders of such 
offices. In dealing with the latter, matters will be referred 
to which may seem to have little to do with the Hundred 
Court, but it must be remembered that the officers of the 
Hundred had not only to attend to the local administration 
of justice ; they had also the duty of executing in the 
Hundred the royal writs and commissions ; and if an 
attempt were made to separate these functions, an incorrect 
idea of the position of these officers might be conveyed. 

But before commencing upon the regular series 
of records beginning half-way through the fourteenth 


century with the accounts of the Sheriffs and the officers 
of the Hundred, the main sources of the profits obtained 
from a Cheshire Hundred Court and its leet jurisdiction 
in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries will shortly be 
indicated. They would include the fines and amerce- 
ments and the fees arising from the civil and minor 
criminal cases which came before the monthly Court, and 
before the great leet held biennially, and known as the 
Sheriff's Turn ; also the fines inflicted for non-attendance 
of suitors of the Hundred at the annual View of Frank- 
pledge, or for neglect on the part of those liable to serve 
as jurors in the monthly Courts. A certain amount of 
revenue would also come from the compositions paid for 
exemption from attendance or service. In addition to 
these, there would be various royal perquisites which, in 
the case of Wirral, included such items as reliefs, feudal 
fees payable to the Crown on taking up an estate in the 
Hundred ; escheats, property the owner of which died 
intestate and without an heir, or for other reasons revert- 
ing to the Crown ; the right to enforce by fine the assize 
of bread, wine, ale, and beer, regulating the quality and 
weight of those commodities after being fined three 
times the bakers were liable to the pillory, and the 
brewers to the tumbril. A most lucrative source of income 
were the " waifs" (vaga) which included the goods and 
chattels of felons, fugitives, suicides, and outlaws ; these 
were forfeited to the Crown by the consequent attainder of 
blood. We find that in Cheshire a proportion of such 


goods were granted to the Serjeants and bedells of the 
peace as a perquisite of office and as a stimulus to activity, 
and bore the name of * * pelf " or * ' pilfre." Under this title, 
the Serjeants took the felon's best beast of each kind, all 
wooden vessels and articles, linen and woollen cloths, a 
quarter of his threshed corn, and in some cases his money, 
if it did not exceed one hundred shillings. Everything 
made or bound with iron seems to have gone, with the 
residue of the felon's goods, to the Earl. 1 

The right of the Serjeants to "pelf" was questioned 
(probably in the reign of Edward II.) in the case of the 
seizure by the bedells of Richard de Sutton (the Grand 
Serjeant of Cheshire) of the goods of one William le 
Berch of Hatherton, which had been reduced into the 
royal custody by the coroner for the Hundred of Wich 
Malbank (Nantwich). One of the bedells was summoned, 
and pleaded the custom, but as, in the absence of his 
master, he could not prove it, the matter was adjourned 
to the next County Court. There is no record of the 
decision, but probably it was in the bedell's favour. 2 
Strictly speaking, the goods of felons committing the 
more serious felonies would not come within the purview 
of the Hundred Court, as the felons could only be re- 
ported and not sentenced there ; but it was the duty of 

1 For further details, see the references given in note i, p. 22, ante. As to the 
corn, see note I, p. 39, post. "Pelf" is mentioned in the Congleton charter (1272), 
Had. MSS. 2074, f. 194 ; Ormerod, iii. 36, and a quotation containing- it is printed 
in " Borough Customs" (Selden Soc.), vol. i. p. 65, where it is inaccurately translated 
as "pilfered goods." 

2 Harl. MSS. 2009, f. 45 (undated). 


the bedells to arrest all offenders, whether of high or 
low degree of guilt, and the right to their goods became 
one of the recognised privileges attached to the Hundred 

Returning after this digression to the perquisites of 
the Court, we must mention the estrays, valuable cattle 
and horses straying into or found wandering in the 
Hundred, without a known owner ; after due proclama- 
tion by the bedells in markets and fairs and the ex- 
piration of a year and a day without being claimed, 
they would be forfeited to the lord of the Hundred. 
Further revenue would come from the stallage^ a toll of 
a few pence collected from the merchants and hucksters 
at the fairs and public markets in the Hundred ; and 
from the deodands, the curious forfeiture (only abolished 
in 1846), of personal chattels causing accidental death, 
such as, for instance, the wheel of a cart which had 
passed over a man. 1 In addition there would be other 
sources of income too numerous to mention, attaching by 
custom or prescription in particular Hundreds, but most 
of those which occurred in Wirral have been referred to. 

From the year 1352 (when the series of Cheshire 
Sheriffs' accounts begin), down to the abolition of the 
court in 1856, it has been possible to obtain almost a 
complete record of the persons who presided either in 

1 Emma of Tarvin fell by accident into a vessel full of hot water and died. The 
vessel was forfeited to the Grown. Plac. Coronae, 19 Ed. I. The records of Capes- 
thorne show that the Davenports, as Serjeants of Macclesfield, claimed the following 
deodands : a bell, two gravestones, and part of a cart wheel, all of which had 
caused the death of a man. Earwaker's " East Cheshire," ii. 4. 


person or by deputy over the Hundred Court of Wirral, 
and a list of the bedells and farmers of the Hundred, 
and of the Sheriffs approvers, will be found in the 
Appendix. From 1352 to 1506, the farms (with one 
exception) were, however, taken year by year, and it 
would be wearisome to refer to them all. A few will 
serve as examples, and then it will be sufficient to point 
out any interesting or unusual features arising in other 

From 1352 to 1372 the revenue of the Hundred and 
Hundred Court falls into three divisions, each of which 
is separately accounted for by the Sheriff in his annual 
accounts. These are: (i) the issues of the bedelry ; (2) 
the profits from the felons' goods (vaga] ; and (3) the 
perquisites and amercements of the Hundred Court. 

(i) The issues of the bedelry. The bedell who took 
his office to farm was, we find, entitled to the profits 
arising from certain clearly defined sources. In the first 
place, he took one-half of the perquisites attached to 
the Hundred Court, and also one-half of the fines and 
amercements inflicted there. The nature of both of 
these has already been indicated, 1 Next, he was entitled 
to puture, or a reasonable money composition in lieu 
thereof, from the tenants of all warlands in the Hundred. 
These, too, we have dealt with. 2 Thirdly, he took the 
fines which freemen holding by charter whose lands 
and tenements did not exceed forty shillings in annual 

1 Ante, page 30. 2 Ante, page 18. 


value, paid to avoid the obligation which, we have seen, 1 
they were under to serve the jury summonses throughout 
the Hundred. These fines are apparently the same as a 
payment mentioned later on in the accounts as " freeman- 
silver." Fourthly, a third part of the value of the 
" waifs." This seems to have been distinct from "pelf," 
and was probably a third of the value of the goods 
actually received by the Crown. Lastly, the bedell was 
entitled to a fluctuating perquisite known as " prison 
suit " (suete de prisone). This was the name for certain 
fees which sheriffs, bailiffs, and gaolers were accustomed 
to extort from prisoners and from persons for whose 
attachment writs had been issued. The former paid the 
money for some relaxation of the rigour of imprisonment 
(aise de prisone), and the latter to avoid arrest or the 
seizure of their chattels as security for their appearance 
before the Court, and to be allowed to find bail. 2 Many 
of the more serious offences were not bailable in these 
days, but persons arrested for misdemeanours, trespasses, 
and debt were lawfully entitled to find bail, though not 
without paying heavily for the privilege. It was there- 
fore to the interest of bailiffs and gaolers to encourage 

1 Ante, page 26. 

2 The expression, "suete de prisone" probably survived in a corrupted form in 
"sweeten and pinch," a cant term used in the seventeenth century by bailiffs to 
denote the process of squeezing- money out of their prisoners by holding out hopes 
of some indulgence. "A main part of [the bailiffs] office is to swear and bluster at 
their trembling prisoner and cry, 'Confound us, why do we wait? let us shop him,' 
whilst the other meekly replies, 'Jack, be patient, it is a civil gentleman, and I 
know will consider us,' which species of wheedling, in terms of their art, is called 
' sweeten and pinch.' " " Four for a Penny " (1678), Harl. Miscell. iv. 147. 


prosecutions and indictments from which they derived 
considerable "prison suit." These extortions were es- 
pecially prominent at the date when the Cheshire records 
begin, and the statute-book of the fourteenth century is 
full of attempts to prohibit them. 1 The warden of the 
Fleet Prison was particularly notorious in these days 
for the way in which he allowed prisoners who paid him 
heavy "suit" to go at large, with or without bail, and 
to remain out of gaol nights and days without the consent 
of the prosecutor, whose efforts to bring the offender 
to book were thus nullified. So well known were the 
advantages of the Fleet, that debtors cast into other 
gaols would confess the debt in order to be removed 
to a prison in which they could defy the unfortunate 
creditor. 2 

The exaction of excessive "prison suit" was taken 
advantage of in the County Palatine by malicious persons 
to harass their enemies. In 1395, we find the burgesses 
and commonalty of Flint piteously representing to King 
Richard that, owing to the ill-will of the Welsh, they 
were daily pursued, to their destruction and impoverish- 
ment, with indictments in respect of which they were 
forced to pay "prison suit." Their petition prayed for 
relief, and that they should be allowed to find bail 
according to the law of England. The time for the 
total abolition of "prison suit" had not yet come, but 

1 See i Ed. III. i. 7; 4 Ed. III. i. 10 ; 25 Ed. III. i. 6 ; 2 Hen. IV. c. 23. The 
writer knows of no account of " prison suit " in any other work. 

2 i Ric. II. c. 12. 


the men of Flint obtained exemption for five years and 
an order to the Chamberlain of Chester that they should 
be allowed bail on production of satisfactory sureties. 1 
Fifty years later, payments for "prison suit" or for 
ease or favour of any kind were nominally abolished, 
and a scale of fees (which included a paltry fourpence, 
(equal to 55.) to the bailiff making an arrest or attach- 
ment, and a similar sum for a bail bond) was fixed. 2 
The warden of the Fleet was, however, exempted, and 
doubtless the extortions went on much the same else- 
where. We shall see later that the efforts of sheriffs 
and bailiffs to keep up their fees ultimately (in 1461) 
killed the goose from which they had received so many 
golden eggs, and deprived them for ever of the right 
of dealing with indicted persons. 3 

In the case of the Hundreds of Cheshire, the "prison 
suit " taken by the lessees seems to have been a payment 
(apparently reckoned from the date when the Sheriff's 
writ of attachment was received) exacted from persons 
indicted for misdemeanours for allowing them to remain 
at large and their property unattached until the next 
sitting of the County Court. 4 

The remainder of the revenue of the Hundred Court 
came from : (2) The profits from the "waifs." A portion 
of these were included in the farms of the bedelry, but 
unless the bedell chose to farm the whole of the "waifs," 

i C. R. R. 68, m. 5, d. 2 23 Hen. VI. c. 9. 3 Post, page 61. 

4 See App. II. No. i. The passage is obscure. 


the balance was collected on behalf of the Crown. And 
(3) The perquisites and amercements of the Hundred. 
Here again the half not taken by the farmer was 
separately accounted for. We shall find, however, that 
in almost every case a bedell who took his office to 
farm leased the right to all of these three classes of 
profits, though separate farms of each were in fact taken 
until 1372, when a lump sum was fixed to cover the farm 
of the whole Hundred. 

The first year for which the Sheriffs accounts exist 
is 1352, when the rent of the bedelry of Wirral was 
^"7, i6s. 8d., whilst the amount paid for the "waifs" and 
the balance of the perquisites and amercements was 
133. 4d. respectively, a total of ^"9, 35. 4d. per annum. 1 
After the rent of the bedelry had been raised for three years 
from 1355 to iQj 135. 4d. (the other items remaining the 
same 2 ), a period of six years occurs during which no farmer 
came forward, and the actual revenue, which fluctuated 
from $ odd to nearly ^20, was collected by the approvers 
on behalf of the Earl. 3 One of these officers, Henry Coly, 
apparently guessed the moment to step in, and from 1364 
to 1374 he farms the Hundred nearly every year. At first 
he paid 8 for the bedelry, los. for the "waifs," and 505. 
(a considerable increase over 135. 4d.) for the perquisites 
and fines a total rent of 11. In 1370, he had the fore- 
sight to decline a farm, and prudently, inasmuch as the 
whole revenue of the Hundred for that year was only 

1 M. A. 784, 2. App. II. No. i. 2 M. A. 784, 6, 7, 8. 8 M. A. 785-6. 


;io, iSs. 1 A miserable 35. was all the " waifs" pro- 
duced, " prison suit" nothing at all, while we may guess 
that 335. for the two classes of fines was an unusually 
small return. A reduced rent of ^7, los. was consequently 
all that could be obtained the next year for the farm. 2 

In 1372, perhaps to make it more attractive, several 
apparently new perquisites were thrown in, and obtained a 
rental of 10 for an inclusive farm of the Hundred. The 
new items were the serjeanty of the peace, carrying with it 
"pelf," as well no doubt as other customary fees due to 
the head of the bedells, stallage, and the other half of the 
perquisites and amercements not hitherto included in the 
bedelry. 3 From 1372 onwards the issues of the Hundred 
are all covered by one farm. After remaining for 10 years 
at .10, the rent drops a few shillings between 1383 and 
1390, but is resumed at 10 again, and so on to 1399, 
when it falls to ^8, or ^"8, IDS., until the year 1406.* For 
the next eighteen years to 1423 ^8, 135. 4d. is paid, and 
constitutes the high water mark for the fifteenth century, 
while from 1424 to 1445, ^7, or ^"8, is the usual figure. 5 
The change that then occurs will be referred to later on. 

1 M. A. 787, 2. M. A. 787, 4. 3 M. A. 787, 5 (4). 

* M. A. 787-792. 8 M. A. 792-796. 


THEIR DUTIES, 1352-1402. 

Henry de Chorleton Robert de Pulle Henry Coly David de Stanay Special 
Commissions of the Peace William del Broom Lease to Henry le Bruynand 
Richard de Prestlond, 1391 Estrays De Waley's Lease Outlawry The 
Irish rebellion Massy of Puddington Relief of sufferers at Radcote Bridge 
Conservators of the Peace Palatine privileges abused Forestalling in 
Wirral Hue and cry. 

THERE are many interesting names at this period amongst 
the list of officers of Wirral set out in the Appendix, but 
this is not the place for tracing their family histories, and 
a few only will be from time to time referred to by name 
to illustrate the history of the Hundred Court. A name 
which appears in 1352 and in several subsequent years is 
that of Henry de Chorleton. He was no doubt a Wirral 
man, and, besides acting as bedell or approver, he was 
one of the official vendors of the goods of felons, for which 
he was paid an annual salary of jC^. 1 Robert de Pulle, a 
bedell for three years (1355-58) was a member of the Poole 
family of Wirral, and father of Sir John de Pulle, some- 
time governor of Carnarvon Castle. The long farm of 

1 C. R. R. 30 &3i Ed. III. m. i. This record also contains the statement that the 
Serjeants were not to seize more than a quarter of the corn of felons forfeited to the 



Henry Coly has already been referred to. He was one of 
a family, resident at Thingwall in Wirral, the members of 
which took prominent part in all local events at this and 
later periods. The bedell of 1381-83 was David de Stanay. 
He was as usual also bailiff of the Hundred, and in 1384 
we find him acknowledging, as "late" bailiff, at the Ex- 
chequer of Chester, a debt of ^22, 95. to King Richard II. 
Five others, viz. Robert de Bebynton, Edmund de Cog- 
hull, Richard Waleys, William del Broom, and Thomas 
Denys joined in the recognisance l to secure the debt. 
There is nothing to show what the debt was for, but 
doubtless it was for arrears of some kind of revenue or 
subsidy unaccounted for to the Sheriff. From the amount 
of the debt, and the fact that he is referred to as bailiff 
and not as bedell, it probably did not represent rent in 
arrear. De Stanay was no doubt a member of the family 
of that name resident at Stoke in Wirral. 2 

The system of presentment to the Hundred Court of 
breaches of the peace was not always effective in keeping 
order, and frequent special commissions had to be issued. 
Thus in 1386 Vivian Foxwist and John de Tyldesleigh 
were empowered 3 to arrest all malefactors and disturbers 
of the peace in the Hundred of Wyrehale, the King 
having heard of great terror caused by bands of armed 
men there. From its position on the borders of Wales, 

1 C. R. R. 56, m. i (2). 

2 He occurs in several recognisances, temp, Ric. II. and Hen. IV., relating to the 
farm of Stoke Church. 

8 C. R. R. 9 & 10 Ric. II. m. 2 (8). 


Wirral was constantly subject to invasion by the turbulent 
Welsh and was seldom in a quiet state. A few years 
later, in 1392, special commissioners for the Hundred, 
in the persons of Sir John Massy of Puddington and 
William de Hooton, were appointed to arrest all dis- 
turbers of the peace, great complaints having reached 
the King of their evil doings. 1 

We find the bedells and bailiffs of 1387 mentioned in 
a list 2 of moneys received by Roger de Brescy, one of the 
clerks of the Exchequer of Chester, on account of King 
Richard II. Among the items received in November 
from the Sheriff of Chester, in respect of the issues of the 
county, appears a sum of 6s. 8d. paid on account of 
Nicholas de Tyttelegh, by the bailiffs of the Hundred of 
Wirehall. Further down the roll, and apparently for 
December of the same year, 8s. appears from Richard de 
Prestlond, "one of the bailiffs," and the same amount in 
January 1388 from Henry le Bruyn and Richard de Prest- 
lond, the two bailiffs of the Hundred of Wyrehall. These 
payments were probably instalments of revenue paid in 
advance by the bailiffs. In March 1388 the Sheriff 
accounts for ,3, 6s. 8d. through the hands of William de 
Stanley, "in onere " of the bailiffs of the Hundred. 

On August 2, 1391, a recognisance 3 was entered into 
by Margaret, wife of William del Broom, "late bailiff of 
the Hundred of Wirehale" (and bedell in 1387-90), Henry 

1 C. R. R. 15 & 16 Ric. II. m. 8, d. 7. * M. A. 773 (3). 

3 C. R. R. 63, m. 6, 5. 


Coly, Robert Baumvill, John del Broom, and Roger del 
Broom, acknowledging a debt to the King of ^3, i6s. 6d., 
arrears owing by the bailiff for the previous year, and in 
exoneration of the Sheriff of Chester, Sir John de Mascy, 
who would otherwise have been responsible. The debt 
was payable in two instalments of 265. 8d. and one of 
235. 2d. 

So far we have obtained our information as to the 
terms upon which the officers of the Hundred held their 
position from the Sheriff's accounts, but a little more 
light is thrown by an entry on the Cheshire Rolls in 1391, 
which constitutes the earliest enrolment we have of a lease 
of the Hundred of Wirral, though doubtless all the annual 
farms were similarly taken. We know from the Sheriff's 
accounts that Henry le Bruyn of Moreton in Wirral and 
Richard de Prestlond farmed the Hundred for several 
years between 1386 and 1396, and it is their lease of 1391 
which for some reason was enrolled. l That the rent was 
;io, and that sureties had to be found, is all we get 
from this record, and it is fortunate that we are able 
to supplement it by the information contained in the 
Sheriff's accounts. We shall find that only occasionally 
are the leases enrolled, although they are generally taken 
year by year. It is difficult to say why certain leases 
should be selected for enrolment and not all. 

In 1395 le Bruyn and de Prestlond seem to have fallen 
into arrear with their rent, as in November 1396 they 

1 C. R. R. 64, m. 2, d. 9. App. II. No. 2. 


jointly and severally acknowledge 1 a debt to the King's 
exchequer of ^20, probably two years' rent. In the 
next year (1397) a new bedell was appointed, Thomas 
de Waley taking a formal lease, 2 before the Chamberlain 
and the Sheriff, of the bedelry for one year from Michael- 
mas, at the same rent of 10 as his immediate pre- 
decessors. The late bailiffs and bedells were still in 
trouble over the revenue of the Hundred, as in May 1397 
we find William de Stanley, senior, taking on his shoulders 
a debt of us. owing to the King, in exoneration of le 
Bruyn and de Prestlond. 3 The object of this recognisance 
was to secure the value of some goods of one Simon del 
Twys who had been convicted of felony. He thus became 
an outlaw, and in ancient times would have had "caput 
lupinum " that is, he might have been knocked on the 
head like a wolf, by any one that should meet him, " be- 
cause having renounced all laws he was to be dealt with 
as in a state of nature, when every one that should find 
him might slay him." In consequence of this outlawry 
Twys' goods had been forfeited to the King, and appa- 
rently the bailiffs had sold them to de Stanley without 
accounting for the proceeds. A few days later the same 
bailiffs acknowledged 4 the large debt of ,64, 8s. 4^d. in 
respect of their term of office during the Shrievalty of 
Robert le Grosvenor, who had been Sheriff in 1394 and 

1 C. R. R. 69, m. ii, d. 5. 2 C. R. R. 70, m. 4, d. 8. 3 C. R. R. 70, m. 5, d. 9. 

1 C. R. R. 70, m. 8 (2). The year before the bailiff of the Hundred of Nantwich was 
similarly bound in 68, ^s. o^d (C. R. R. 18 & 19 Ric. II. m. 7, d. (3) ) and the bailiff 
of Northwich in 22, 93. g^d. (C. R. R. 18 & 19 Ric. II. m. 7, d. (4) ). 


on other occasions. The money was payable on a fixed 
date, but the recognisance was to be void if de Prestlond 
then came himself and paid $ on account, and reasonable 
payments were made from time to time at the Sheriff's 
return, or rent-day, till the whole debt was wiped out and 
the liability of the Sheriff at an end. The amount of the 
debt represented an extremely large sum in those days, 
upwards of 600 of our money, and it is hard to say how 
the bailiffs came to owe it. It had certainly nothing to do 
with the farm of the Hundred, and probably was arrears of 
a subsidy. 

The jurisdiction of the officers of the Hundred over 
the perquisites of the Crown is illustrated by a recognis- 
ance 1 in 1394, whereby John de Molynton became surety 
for whatever should be adjudged to the King on account 
of the capture, by the bailiffs of the Hundred of Wirral, 
of some "estrays," the property of John de Waley and 
William Maykin. These were probably cattle found 
wandering and impounded until the true owners proved 
their title and paid a fee to have them returned. We 
have seen that if they were not claimed after due pro- 
clamation and the expiration of a year and a day they 
would be forfeited to the Crown. 

The condition of Ireland, at this time in a state of 
rebellion, was causing much anxiety to the King. Quanti- 
ties of troops were being despatched to subdue the in- 
surrection, and sailors were being whipped up in the 

1 C. R. R. 67, m. 2, d. (8). 


western ports of England to man the ships sailing for 
Ireland. Roger Mortimer, Earl of March, the King's 
cousin, was in command of the expedition, and the ports 
of Chester and Liverpool were full of ships awaiting their 
crews. In July 1397 the bailiffs of the Hundred of Wirral 
were directed l by letters under the great seal to arrest 
all sailors in their bailiwick, and convey them to the ships 
which had been collected at Chester and Liverpool for 
the conveyance of Mortimer's men, horses, and armour. 
The impressed mariners were to be paid reasonable 
wages, and any one resisting was to be imprisoned in 
Chester Castle. Earlier in the year Sir John Massey 
of Puddington, with his son Hamo and others, had been 
commanded 2 to seize all ships of 10 tons burthen and 
upwards which they could find between Holyhead and 
Furness, and to bring them with crews to the ports 
of Chester and Conway for the passage to Ireland of 
Mortimer's retinue. By the terms of the letters patent 
the special commissioners were empowered to enter into 
"the liberties" of the county, places where otherwise 
they would not be able to go to execute the royal writs. 
One of the bedells of Wirral for 1398, namely Robert 
Baumvill, and several subsequent ones, are named among 
a body of twenty commissioners 3 who were entrusted in 

1 C. R. R. 70, m. 6, 5. 2 C. R. R. 70, m. 6, 4. 

8 C. R. R. 22 & 23 Ric. II. m. 6 (5). The commissioners were : Sir John de 
Pulle, Wm. de Stanley, Thos. del Hog-h, John de Lytherland, John de Warewyk, 
Wm. de Tranemoele, Gilbert Glegg, John de Bebynton, Wm. de Meoles, David de 
Staney, Wm. de Wilbram, John Coly, Thos. del Lee, Roger Trull, Robert Hopkynsone, 
Richd. le Smyth, Robt. Baumvill, Robt. le Clerc, John de Holden and Wm. Turfmos. 


that year with the distribution in the Hundred of Wirral 
of a sum of ^411, i6s. 8d., part of a sum of 4000 marks 1 
sent by King Richard II. out of his treasury at West- 
minster for the relief of those of the people of Cheshire 
who suffered in the King's service at " Redcote brugge " 
(Radcot Bridge, near Bampton in Oxfordshire). There, 
in 1388, 5000 of the Cheshire men, under the leadership 
of Sir Thomas Molyneux, constable of Chester Castle, 
had been severely defeated by the Duke of Gloucester, 
the King's uncle, the Earl of Derby, and others, whilst 
conducting the Duke of Ireland to the King. Sir Thomas 
Molyneux was killed by Sir Thomas Mortimer, and many 
of the Cheshire men were slain. 2 The distribution of this 
large sum was attended by considerable formality. The 
Treasurer of England and the King's Sergeant-at-arms 
attended in Chester, and formally, before the Chamberlain, 
the Mayor, and the Sheriffs of the city, delivered 3000 
marks, part of the grant, 1.0 the Sheriff of the county, 
who in his turn deposited it, pending distribution, with 
the Abbot and Convent of Chester for safe custody. 3 
The balance of 1000 was delivered to the Sheriff, pre- 

1 The 4000 marks (2666, 133. 4d.) were apportioned among the Hundreds as 
follows: Eddisbury, 356, 153. 4fd. ; Macclesfield, 709, 53. i^d. ; Nantwich, 183, 8s. 
xofd. ; Northwich, 218, 43. 7fd. ; Broxton, 220, 23. gjd. ; Bucklow, 556, igs. lod. ; 
Wirral, 41 1, 163. 8d. (leaving 10 unaccounted for). Dr. Morris, in "Chester in the 
Plantagenet and Tudor Reigns," erroneously states 3000 marks were distributed, and 
apparently thinks the people of the " City " of Chester received them. Mr. Lumby, in 
his paper on "Chester and Liverpool in the Patent Rolls" (Hist. Soc. of L. & C. 
vol. xix.-xx. N.S.), gives the amount as 3000 marks "gold." Both the writers over- 
look a further 1000 marks mentioned lower down the same membrane of the roll. 

* Playfair, " Baronet," vol. vi. ; Camden Britt. p. 285, edn. 1590. 

C. R. R. 20 & 21 Ric. II. m. 7, d. (7) & (8) & (9). 


sumably for immediate distribution, together with a bag 
containing rolls, petitions, and memoranda for the guid- 
ance of those who should distribute the money. The 
people of the county did not benefit very much by this 
royal gift, as a few years later the sum of 3000 marks 
was levied upon them to pay for a general pardon to all 
who took part in the insurrection of Henry Percy. 1 

In 1399 the disturbed state of Cheshire, consequent 
upon the conflict between Richard II. and Henry of 
Lancaster, and the risings in Wales, made it necessary 
for Conservators of the Peace to be appointed for all 
the Hundreds. 2 These Conservators were the prede- 
cessors of Justices of the Peace, and to their appoint- 
ment may partially be ascribed, as already explained, 
the decline in the jurisdiction of the Hundred Courts. 
The appointment of these Conservators was made, not by 
the King or by the people, but by the Prince of Wales, to 
whom the County Palatine had been granted a few years 
before by Richard II. when he created it a principality. 3 

It is worth noting in passing that the fact that writs 
and process issued outside the County Palatine could not 
be executed in Cheshire owing to the palatine privileges, 
was found about this date to be productive of abuses. 

1 1403. C. R. R. 4 & 5 Hen. IV. m. 3 (i) (2) (3) (4) (5). C. P. R. 5 Hen. IV. m. 6. 
1406. C. R. R. 6 & 7 Hen. IV. m. 4 (i)-(7). 

2 C. R. R. i & 2 Hen. IV. m. 3, d (i). Those appointed for Wirral were : Sir 
John de Pulle, Wm. de Stanley, Hamo Mascy, John de Whitmore, Wm. de Tranmoll, 
Jas. de Pulle, John Litherland, John del Meoles, Thos. de Bolde, John de Tildesley, 
Vivian de Foxwist and Gilbert Glegg 1 . 

3 21 Ric. II. c. 9. 


"Grievous clamour and complaint " arose that residents in 
Cheshire committed felonies and trespasses in the neigh- 
bouring counties and, by escaping back into their county, 
evaded punishment. Accordingly, at the commencement 
of the reign of Henry IV., the palatine privileges were so 
far relaxed that in such cases process of outlawry was 
allowed to issue in the county where the offence was com- 
mitted, and then was certified to the officials of Chester by 
whom the offender and his chattels were to be seized. 
After enjoyment of the latter by the King for the usual 
year and a day, they were to be forfeited as escheats to 
the " Prince of Chester." 1 

The "good men and true" of the Hundred jury 
were specially called together in 1402 in pursuance of 
letters patent 2 issued by the Prince of Wales. An ordin- 
ance relating to cattle (probably designed to secure a 
supply of meat for the King's army in North Wales) had 
been broken by Henry le Bruyn of Moreton (a former 
bedell), John de Dokynton, John Hog, Roger del Broom, 
and others, who had driven some beasts out of Wales into 
the Hundred in contravention of the ordinance. A jury of 
the Hundred Court was summoned to ascertain on oath the 
number and nature of the cattle ; Sir John Mascy of Pud- 
dington, with Hamo de Mascy and Richard de Moston, 
were commissioned to seize them, and to arrest the offenders 
and bring them up to Chester Castle for judgment. 

1 i Hen. IV. c. 18. Reeve's "History of England," 1787, iii. 241. 

2 C. R. R. 2 & 3 Hen. IV. m. n (u). 


In those days it was an offence to corner, or attempt to 
control, the markets for merchandise, corn, and grain, and 
persons were presentable in the Hundred Courts for "fore- 
stalling," as it was called. Other offences of the same 
kind were, " regrating," or buying corn in a market and 
selling it again in or near the same place at enhanced 
prices, and "ingrossing, " buying up large quantities of 
grain with intention of holding for later sale at a profit. 
There does not seem anything very criminal in these days 
about such operations, but owing to the scarcity and high 
price of corn, it was considered desirable to prevent them, 
and to restrict the export of grain. The jurisdiction of 
the Hundred Court over these offences, however, did not 
prove effective in Wirral, and in the year 1401 we find Sir 
John de Pulle, William de Stanley, junior, and John de 
Lytherland, appointed commissioners by Henry Prince of 
Wales to inquire into the conduct of the ingrossers and 
regrators in the Hundred, who bought up and hoarded 
grain for sale in foreign parts to the injury of the poor 
of the Hundred. The commissioners were ordered to 
cause all the hoarded grain to be brought into the nearest 
market and sold at a reasonable price, and to prevent 
any exportation out of the Hundred. 1 

Although we do not hear about it, the Hundred Court 
of Wirral must frequently have had to deal with offenders 
against the statutes of Hue and Cry, in which the original 

1 C. R. R. 2 & 3 Hen. IV. m, 3, d. (8). Many subsequent commissions of the same 
kind occur. 


system under which the inhabitants of a Hundred were 
collectively responsible one for another survived. Under 
these provisions, originating in the time of the Edwards, 1 
the Hundred where a robbery took place was liable, in 
default of the capture of the robber, to compensate the 
person robbed, and also to pay for damage caused by 
rioters. A false alarm or any slackness in rendering assist- 
ance in the Hue and Cry was punishable in the Court. 
During the sixteenth century, it was found that those who 
were robbed, having an easy remedy against the Hundred, 
lost the incentive to pursue the robber, and that he fre- 
quently escaped because the neighbouring Hundreds (which 
were not responsible), became slack in their Hue and Cry. 
It became necessary to bind over every person robbed to 
prosecute, and to stimulate the energy of the neighbouring 
Hundreds by making them liable to pay half the damages 
in default of the arrest of the offender. 2 In later times 
the Hundred had to be protected against false claims by 
stringent provisions as to notice and advertisement, and a 
standing reward of ^10 for the apprehension of robbers 
was instituted. 3 That bogus claims against the Hundreds 
for heavy sums were made, is apparent by the fact that a 
law was passed to provide that no one could recover 
more than ^200 from a Hundred unless he had a com- 
panion with him at the time of the robbery to attest to 
the truth of his story. 4 The puritans turned this liability 

* 13 Ed. I. st. 2, c. i and 2', 28 Ed. III. c. u. 2 27 Eliz. c. 13. 

8 Geo. II. c. 16. 4 22 Geo. II. c. 24. 


of the Hundred to their own account when they denied to 
persons travelling on Sundays any remedy against the 
Hundred for a robbery committed on that day, unless 
it occurred on the way to or from church. 1 

Early in last century the Hundreds were freed from 
liability in respect of robberies, but their responsibility for 
damage by rioters continued in a modified form until the 
year 1886, when the police rate was saddled with the 
payment of compensation. 

1 29 Car. II. c. 7. 



Owen Glendower Lease to de Saynesbury and de Brumburgh, 1403 Henry 
Coly False rumours in Wirral Various bedells No revenue in 1411 
Justices itinerant for Wirral, 1429 Sir Thomas Stanley's lease, 1445 Abuse 
of the Sheriff's Turn Gleggs of Gayton Effects of civil wars Resumption 
of leases, 1475 Reduction of rent Robert Trafford's lease, 1507 Ithell and 
Bebynton's lease, 1509. 

THE revolt of Owen Glendower was naturally a most dis- 
turbing" influence throughout Cheshire, and for some years 
the men of the county were constantly engaged in repel- 
ling the invasions of the Welsh. The records are full of 
writs commanding every one holding possessions on the 
marches to hasten home and make defence. Among the 
duties thrown upon the officers of the Hundreds on the 
marches was that of preventing the Welsh getting supplies. 
In June of 1403 the Prince of Wales ordered the bailiffs 
of the Hundred of Wirral to prohibit the sale of grain or 
provisions by the men of Wirral to Welshmen of the county 
of Flint or other parts of Wales. The reason for this was 
that the Prince had heard that many men of the Hundred 
were in the habit of furnishing the men of Flint and of 
the townships of Denbigh, Denfrencluyt (Dyffryn-clwyd), 

Hawarden, and Hopedale with supplies, and they in their 


THE HUNDRED OF WIRRAL, 1403-1509 53 

turn sold them to the Welsh rebels. 1 Commissioners were 
also appointed to seize all the grain, &c., in the Hundred 
which had been sold to the Welsh, who, the Prince had 
heard, entered the Hundred by night and day by certain 
fords ''ultra aquam de Dee" and carried thence a great 
quantity of grain for the support of the rebels, contrary 
to proclamation. 2 

In the autumn of 1403, it again became necessary, in 
view of the near approach of Owen Glendower, who was 
reported in the marches of the county, to appoint special 
conservators and guardians for the Hundred of Wirral. 
The names of John de Pulle, William de Stanley, John 
Lytherland, and John de Meoles appear in the writ. They 
were instructed to appoint watches, and to make hedges, 
ditches, and other impediments on the sea coast of Flint 
to repel the invaders. 3 Another step taken was to appoint 
Hamo de Mascy of Puddington and others as keepers of 
the passes between the city of Chester and " Hazelwall " 
to prevent traffic with the rebels. 4 

The enrolment of the bedelry leases was, as we know, 
very spasmodic, but we find the one for 1403 to John de 
Saynesbury and Hugh de Brumburgh upon the rolls. This, 
it is recited, they took in their own names, and were entitled 
to "all issues and profits of the office." 5 The lease, as we 
know, was for one year and the rent was now ^8, payable 

1 C. R. R. 3 & 4 Hen. IV. m. 10 (7). 2 C. R. R. 3 & 4 Hen. IV. m. 8, d. (8). 

3 C. R. R. 3 & 4 Hen. IV. m. 10, d. (6). 

4 C. R. R. 4 & 5 Hen. IV. m. 7, d. (8) and (9). B C. R. R. 76, m. 13 (11). 


to the Earl of Chester. The lessees appear at the time 
to have been in arrears with their accounts as bailiffs to 
the Sheriff, and shortly after taking the lease they had 
to obtain two sureties in the persons of Henry Coly and 
Gilbert Glegg to guarantee that they met their liabilities 
in respect of their previous term of office, so as to exoner- 
ate the late Sheriff, Henry de Ravenscroft. 1 Henry Coly 
himself was joint bedell with Thomas Coly in 1405, 
and doubtless also bailiff, as in 1406 we find the latter 
joined with Thomas de Waley, John de Whitemore, and 
Richard Coley in a recognisance 2 to Henry Prince of 
Wales and Earl of Chester for ^"9, 195. 3d. arrears of 
Henry Coly when he was bailiff. 

So far as we can gather, the bedells never had much 
difficulty in paying their rents, but from the constant re- 
cognisances entered into by the bailiffs, it would seem that 
they found great difficulty in collecting that part of the 
revenue for which they were responsible, and no doubt 
the disturbed and deteriorating state of this part of the 
county had much to do with their troubles. 

The two bedells for 1403, Thomas de Maynwaryng 
and Roger Trull, were appointed commissioners to collect 
a subsidy in Wirral in that year, but doubtless this was 
in consequence of their being also bailiffs of the Hundred. 3 
Early in 1404, a jury of the Hundred was ordered to be 
impanelled for an unusual object. False rumours (probably 

1 C. R. R. 77, m. i (10). * C. R. R. 78, m. 6, d. (i). 

3 C. R. R. 3 & 4 Hen. IV. m. 7 (4). 

THE HUNDRED OF WIRRAL, 1403-1509 55 

relating to the Welsh rebellion) were being spread about 
in Cheshire, and malicious letters circulated by mes- 
sengers and runners, which the Earl of Chester con- 
sidered constituted a national danger and caused great 
disquiet in the county. He therefore issued a commission l 
to each Hundred to inquire into the matter. The com- 
missioners for Wirral were Sir John de Pulle, Sir William 
de Stanley, Hamo de Mascy, Vivian Foxwist, James de 
Pull, and John de Meoles. The bailiffs of the Hundred 
were ordered to impanel before them the jury of the 
Hundred, by whose oath the disseminators of false news 
were to be discovered and then arrested. It would be 
interesting to know whether they were punished under the 
law of Edward I., which prescribed imprisonment until the 
first author of the false rumour was brought into Court, 
a punishment which might sometimes, one would think, 
involve perpetual incarceration. A report under seal upon 
the matter was to be made to the King and council, and 
all officers of the county were enjoined to assist in the 
inquiry. The same writ ordered the commissioners to 
array the fencible men of the Hundred, and to attend 
before the Sheriff at "Topplegh" to hear what should 
then be expounded to them. We are left in ignorance 
of the nature of the exposition. 

One of the bedells for 1406 bears a well-known name. 
John Rathbone doubtless came from Tushingham in 
the neighbouring Hundred of Broxton. His companion, 

1 C. R. R. 77, m. 4, d. (2). 


John Goodfellow, had served the King in Ireland and 
elsewhere with distinction, and as a reward obtained a 
grant for life of a place in Wirral called " Rideresplace," 
together with the custody of Salghale wood. 1 John le 
Barker of Wallasey, bedell in 1408, was perhaps origi- 
nally a Wrexham man. We find him coming in from 
thence to Chester in 1404, with one Matthew le Cornifer, 
because they were unwilling to join the rebels. Their 
loyalty was cruelly doubted, and both had formally to 
do fealty to the Earl and find a surety. 2 

The regularity in the payment of the rent for the 
Hundred was broken, for some unknown reason, in 1411, 
and the Sheriffs accounts show that from March of that 
year to January 14, 1412, there were no receipts, so 
far as he was concerned, from any of the farms of the 
Cheshire Hundreds, and the profits from felon's goods 
and prison suit are entered as nil. 3 But the diversion 
of the revenue was only temporary, and the farms were 
resumed next year. One of the bedells of Wirral for 
1412 was William Hare. This was possibly the King- 
sley man who, a few years before, had been granted 
for life the office of vendor of the bark and timber 
blown down in the forest of Mara, with one penny a 
day as wages. 4 

Thomas Broune, who shared the farm of Wirral in 

1 C. R. R. i & 2 Hen. IV. m. i, d. 8. 2 C. R. R. 4 & 5 Hen. IV. m. 6, d. (10). 

3 M. A. 792, 9, and 793. In 1413 175, 135. 7jd. was derived from fines and 
ransoms arising out of pleas in the County Court. 

4 C. R. R. 4 & 5 Hen. IV. m. 5 (5) (6). 

THE HUNDRED OF WIRRAL, 1403-1509 57 

1415, seems to have been a Wallasey yeoman who 
subsequently went to serve King Henry V. in France, 
for which he was granted protection, 1 whilst Thomas 
Holden, bedell in 1417 with Henry Waley, held the 
royal office of Master Mason in Cheshire and Flint, 
during the King's pleasure. 2 

One of the bedells for 1424-26, John Jevansone, is 
mentioned, in his capacity of a bailiff for Wirral, in a 
commission to the Sheriff, the under Sheriff, the escheator, 
Roger Holes, the coroner for Wirral, and the other bailiffs 
and coroners of the Hundreds, to arrest a band of dis- 
turbers of the peace headed by some of the Venables and 
Cholmondeley families. 3 

So far, although no doubt the justices itinerant, upon 
whom devolved so much of the ancient jurisdiction of 
the Hundred Court, had perambulated Wirral, we have 
only general mention of their appointment for the County. 
In September 1429, however, it is recorded 4 that William 
Chauntrell and Richard Bolde were commissioned as 
justices (hac vice] for the Eyre to be held in the 
Hundreds of Wirral and Broxton. The Court for the 
former was often held at Eastham or Backford. The 
officers of the Hundred were bound to attend the Eyre, 
and originally had the duty of choosing four prominent 
knights of the Hundred, who in their turn selected 
twelve other knights or freemen to act as jurors of the 

i C. R. R. 5 & 6 Hen. V. m. 2, d. (6). 2 C. R. R. 2 & 3 Hen. V. m. 2 (2). 

3 C. R. R. 97, m. 2 (10). C. R. R. 7 & 8 Hen. VI. m. 3 (3). 


Eyre and present offences to the Justices of Assize. 
Later on, the duty of presenting indictments devolved 
on the Grand Inquest or jury of the county, and the 
men of the Hundred were only summoned to the Eyre 
to act as common jurors in the decision of cases. The 
lessees and bailiffs of the Hundreds were also bound 
to attend the sittings of quarter sessions and of the 
Sheriffs County Court, and there are many instances 
of their being summoned to the latter with the other 
officers of the county. 

Although it is not quite clear whether its application 
was confined to Cheshire, the following article to which 
the Chamberlain and Vice-Chamberlain of Chester had 
to swear the men of the county (probably at the Hundred 
Court) in 1434, gives an indication of the disturbed and 
lawless condition of the county in these times : 

" Yat no lorde nor none other p'sone, of what 
astate, degree, or condic'on yat he shall be, wetyngly 
resceyve, cherissh, holde in housald, ne mayntene, pilours, 
robburs, opp'ssours of people, mansleers, felouns, out- 
lawes, ravyssheres of women ayenst ye lawe, unlawefull 
hunters of forestes, parkes, or warennes, or any other 
opyn misdoers, or any openly named or famed for such, 
till his innocence be declared. And yat neether be 
colour or occasion of feffement or of yeft of goode 
moeble passed be dede noe oder wyse any of the said 
lordes ne non other shall take any other mennes cause 

THE HUNDRED OF WIRRAL, 1403-1509 59 

or quarell, in favour, supportacion, or mayntenaunce as 
be worde, be wryting, nor be message to officer, jugge, 
jurre, or to partie or be yeft of his clothyng, or livere, 
or takyng in to his s'vice the partie, nor conceyve 
agayne any jugge or officer indignacion or displeceaunce 
for doing of his office in fourme of lawe. And yat ye 
shall kape yis not all only in her awein p'sones, but 
yat ye see yat all oder in her counttrees as mich as in 
hem is, and thair s'vants, and all other such as be 
under hem of lesse estate do the same. And yf thai 
do the conntarie make hem withouten delay leve hit or 
elles put hem a way fro hem." 1 

Thus it is not surprising to find that John de Saynes- 
bury and William Fairrie, the bedells and bailiffs of 
Wirral on several occasions between 1427 and 1437, 
were unable to collect the revenue of the Hundred. 
Immense sums of money were in arrear, and to enable 
it to be collected a special commission 2 was issued 
in 1437 under which they, and the then bailiffs of the 
Hundred, were empowered to get in the arrears with 
despatch from all debtors who were unable to produce 
receipts or tallies, or by some other means to prove 
that they had discharged their debts. Numerous other 
instances of the duties and responsibilities of the officers 
of Wirral are to be found on the rolls, but probably 
they have been sufficiently indicated for this period. 

1 C. R. R. 12 & 13 Hen. VI. in. 9, d. (2). a C. R. R. 109, m. 3 (16). 


In October 1445 a lease 1 of the combined office of 
bailiff and bedell of the Hundred of Wirral, with all 
issues and profits of the Sheriff's "Tourn," and other 
perquisites (not mentioned in detail) was granted to Sir 
Thomas Stanley, knight, Geoffrey Starkey of North- 
wich and Robert More. The lease is noteworthy, inas- 
much as it was for twenty years, whereas up to now the 
leases had been annual. The rent was reduced to 7 
per annum, and never again approached anything like 
that amount. The same parties at the same time took 
a similar lease 2 in respect of the Hundred of Eddisbury, 
the rent in this case being ^8. 

This Stanley was Sir Thomas Stanley of Liverpool, 
who held many important offices during his life. He was 
a judge of the Palatine Court, and was subsequently Lord- 
Lieutenant of Ireland, Comptroller of the Household and 
Chamberlain to Henry VI. He was created a K.G. and 
Baron Stanley in 1456, and died in 1459. Starkey was a 
member of a branch of the important Cheshire family of 
that name resident at Northwich, whilst More was one 
of the great Liverpool family and had been Mayor of that 
town on several occasions. 

It will be seen that, in addition to the fees derived 
from the ordinary sittings of the Hundred Court, the 
lessees took the profits of the Sheriff's Turn, i.e. the fines 
and fees of the great Leet held twice a year by the Sheriff, 
to whom, as the King's representative, the fees of the day 

i C. R. R. 119, m. 6, n. App. II. No. 5. 2 C. R. R. 119, m. 6, 10. 

THE HUNDRED OF WIRRAL, 1403-1509 61 

would in the ordinary way go. Probably, however, these 
profits had long formed part of the farm of the Hundred, 
although not specifically mentioned. The bedells did not 
enjoy them much longer. The increased jurisdiction of 
justices of the peace had caused the Turn to be less and 
less resorted to ; and, to regain their lost business and fees, 
Sheriffs of counties and their underlings, the bailiffs and 
bedells, began to present improper and fictitious indict- 
ments at the Turn, and to get them affirmed by venal 
jurors, "persons of no substance, nor behaviour, nor 
dreading God, nor the World's shame." The result was 
that many persons were illegally fined and convicted, and 
then, by withdrawal or destruction of the indictment, the 
right of an appeal was frustrated. This procedure resulted 
practically in the destruction of the Turn, as in 1461 an 
Act 1 was passed which took away the power of hearing 
and determining indictments and transferred it to the 
justices in quarter sessions. The Turn itself existed in 
point of form until the year 1887. 2 

About this time the bailiffs came in contact with a 
member of a family which has played a large part in the 
history of Wirral. The Gleggs of Gayton had sided with 
the house of York in the great struggle with Henry VI., 
and in 1460 had seized at Gayton money and jewels 
belonging to the King to the value of 20,000 marks. 
As they forcibly resisted every attempt to recover the 

1 i Ed. IV. c. 2. See also i Ric. III. c. 4. 

a Sheriffs' Act, 1887. 


valuables, a commission l to arrest them was issued. It 
was directed to the Sheriff, the bailiffs of Wirral, and 
to William Stanley, two of the Pooles, Thomas Mascy 
of Puddington, and William Whitmore, and enjoined 
the seizure and production at Chester Castle of Thomas 
and John Glegg, John Brumburgh, and William Knysty, 
together with the stolen jewels. Mortimer states 2 that 
Thomas Glegg was imprisoned until 1469, but appar- 
ently he was free in I463, 3 although it was not till 1469 
that he was pardoned 4 by Edward IV. in the usual por- 
tentous document, apparently prepared on the principle 
of enumerating all possible offences that a human being 
could commit and then forgiving any of them the offender 
might have committed. 

The lease of 1445 seems to have lapsed in 1459. 
Perhaps the death of Lord Stanley had something to 
do with this. But more probably it was one of the 
effects of the disastrous battle of Bloreheath, when the 
men of Cheshire were divided against themselves. It is 
commonly stated that the Wars of the Roses had little 
or no effect upon the judicial organisation and com- 
mercial progress of the country. This was certainly not 
the case in Cheshire, where for the first fifteen years of 
the war the judicial system of the county seems to have 
been nearly at a standstill. Practically no revenue was 

1 C. R. R. 133, m. 6, 3. " History of Wirral," p. 236. 

C. R. R. 2 & 3 Ed. IV. m. 2, d. (12) ; 4 & 5 Ed. IV. m. 9 (4) ; 5 & 6 Ed. IV. 
m. 3 (5). 

* C. R. R. 141, m. 9 (2). 

THE HUNDRED OF WIRRAL, 1403-1509 63 

collected from the Hundreds 1 and as regards Wirral, what 
revenue could be got in was returned by "approvers," as 
no one would come forward to take a farm. For the two 
years 1460-2, the issues which had been let to Sir Thomas 
Stanley and others for j only returned an aggregate 
of 305. Indeed, a pound or two is all that conies in from 
Wirral for the next ten years or so. In 1467, the Sheriff 
returns no revenue, because he states that Edmund Lither- 
land, the bailiff of Wirral, took it himself. Litherland 
does not appear to have accounted for these items, as 
in the following year the Sheriff is charged with 305. in 
respect of the two years' income, and again in 1469 with 
2os. 8d. This Litherland was, it may be mentioned, a 
difficult person to deal with, and appears annually on the 
Recognisance Rolls from 1463 to 1476 as being bound 
over, under the suretyship of other Wirral men, to keep 
the peace towards Richard, Abbot of St. Werburgh, 
another firebrand who had suffered imprisonment in 
Chester Castle for altering the city boundaries, and took 
an active local part in the civil war. 

The re-establishment of law and order in Cheshire was 

1 The Sheriff's accounts also record that nothing was received in the Hundreds 
from the following- items which, in former years, appear to have been regular sources 
of income : The fines of judgers and suitors, the profits of the Tourns, " fines 
panellorum," prison suit, sheriff's aid (auxilium -vicecomitis), treasure trove, "securitas 
pacis," recognisances, "fines atterminati" (fines for the payment of which time had 
been given), wreck, "fines pro denariis levandi," "exitus aut amerciamenta foris- 
facta coram Camerariis, et auditoribus Regis Cestrie " and " freeman-silver." A 
certain amount of revenue, amounting, however, only to 54, 143. 8d. for the whole 
county, was accounted for in respect of the estreats of the justices and included 
7, i8s. 6d. from fines inflicted before the justices in Eyre at Backford and elsewhere. 


gradual, and it was not until 1475 that any one could be 
induced again to lease the Hundred. William Knysty 
and Roger Hole (both of whom we have met before) then 
came forward to do so, but on very different conditions. 
The civil war had broken the county ; the silting up of 
the Dee had practically driven away the coasting trade 
so long enjoyed by the port of Chester, and at Burton, 
Denhall, and Neston along the coasts of Wirral ; the con- 
sequent loss of trade with Wales and Ireland had caused 
the already depleted population to move to other and more 
prosperous places, thus reducing the number of people to 
do suit and service at the Hundred Court. The profits of 
the Sheriffs Turn were practically gone, and there was the 
increasing jurisdiction of justices and quarter sessions. 
All these facts tended greatly to reduce the profits to be 
made by a Crown lessee, and were doubtless some of the 
reasons why, from j in 1459, the rent should drop to 
i 9 6s. 8d. in 1475. At this figure there was apparently 
a fair margin of profit, as for thirty years there is an un- 
interrupted series of annual lessees who offered that 
amount to hold the Hundred Court. Nor do the farmers 
seem to have had any difficulty in paying their rent, from 
which we may infer the Hundred was settling down and 
well under the control of the authorities. But the Hundred 
was still troubled from time to time with military affairs 
which kept the bailiffs busy. In the autumn of 1480, a 
commission, 1 consisting of William Stanley of Hooton, 

1 C. R. R. 20 & 21 Ed. IV. m. i (3). 

THE HUNDRED OF WIRRAL, 1403-1509 65 

Thomas Poole, senior, Thomas Massy of Puddington, and 
Thomas Glegg, was appointed to collect the fighting men 
of the Hundred before Christmas, so as to be in readi- 
ness to attend the Prince of Wales in warlike array upon 
three days' notice. A return was also to be made to 
the Chamberlain of Chester from the gentlemen of the 
Hundred to determine the number of horsemen with their 
accoutrements that could be raised in each household. 1 
Early in 1481 the bailiffs of Wirral were commanded, 
for urgent reasons and under penalty of 100 marks, to 
summon these commissioners before the Chamberlain at 
the Exchequer of Chester to hear and do the matters 
then and there to be expounded to them ; 2 and a little 
later another array was ordered of all fencible men 
between sixteen and sixty, to depart on an appointed day 
with the King " versus partes Scocie." 3 

There is little of interest in the lessees for this period. 
The names of Thomas Whitoff, Roger Oldfield, and 
Richard Bebington occur a number of times, whilst Thomas 
Gelibrande (1492), though perhaps not a Wirral man, had 
married into the family of Parr, owners of the manor of 
Backford. 4 From 1493 onwards John ap Ithell and James 
Bebynton were bedells and bailiffs on many occasions and 
to them, with the bailiffs of Broxton and Eddisbury, a 
commission 6 was addressed in 1496, commanding that, 
with the under-Sheriff, Ralph Birkenhead, Thomas Hogh, 

1 C. R. R. 20 & 21 Ed. IV. m. i, d. (3). 2 C. R. R. 20 & 21 Ed. IV. m. i, d. (10). 
3 C. R. R. 20 & 21 Ed. IV. m. 7 (i). C. R. R. n & 12 Hen. VII. m. 5 (2). 

6 C. R. R. 166, m. 2 (2). 



the coroner for the Hundred of Wirral, and Thomas 
Glegg of Gayton, they should inquire into the accumula- 
tion and hoarding" of grain in the Hundred and cause it 
to be publicly sold in the markets at a fair price. 

In 1507, we find King Henry VII. granting a lease 1 
to Robert Trafford, by the suretyship of John Trafford, 
chaplain, of all issues and pleas of the Hundred of Wirral, 
as well as all fines, amercements, forfeitures, and profits 
to the said bailiwick pertaining or in any way belonging, 
with the use and occupation of the said bailiwick. The 
lease was for two years only, and the rent, payable to the 
Earls of Chester, was 265. 8d. of " old rent" and 35. 4d. 
by way of increase, a total of 305., payable at Easter and 
Michaelmas by equal portions. This was the first occasion 
on which the rent had been raised since 1475. 

Upon the expiration of this lease in 1509, a fresh one 2 
was taken by John ap Ithell and James Bebynton, who 
had held the Hundred some years before. John Glegg of 
Gayton was surety. The issues and profits of the office of 
bailiff and bedell were granted for a term of fourteen years, 
and the rent was again slightly increased, being 305. of 
old rent and is. 8d. of new, and at this figure it remained 
for more than one hundred and fifty years. 

1 C. R. R. 176, m. 9 (2). App. II. No. 6. 

2 C. R. R. 179, m. i. App. II. N 7 o. 7. 



Transfer of Cheshire franchises Augmentation Office Queen Elizabeth's lease 
to Cuthbert Venables The rights and privileges of a lessee Lease to William 
Trafford Sir William Massy Report on the Hundred, 1661 Lease to John 
Carter, 1662 Transfer of Hundred to Thomas Dod, 1679 Edward Gleggof 
Irby Lease to his Executor by Queen Anne John Glegg's marriage His 
two leases Court Roll, 1744 Suit and service Death of John Glegg, 1768, 
and leases to his son John Lieut.-Gen. Birkenhead Glegg The last lease 
runs out, 1816. 

UP to the beginning of the sixteenth century the manage- 
ment of the Crown franchises in Cheshire seems to have 
remained in the hands of the palatine authorities, and 
leases and documents relating to them are to be found 
entered on the Palatine Rolls, but after the year 1510 no 
further leases of any Cheshire Hundreds are to be found 
there, though there are a few grants and appointments 
of bailiffs for life or during pleasure, but none for the 
Hundred of Wirral. The management of the Crown 
lands and franchises in Cheshire was at some date in 
the reign of Henry VIII., probably before 1545, trans- 
ferred to the Exchequer at Westminster. But the system 
of enrolling the leases seems to have fallen into abeyance, 

and none can be found for a period of nearly ninety-five 

6 7 


years. 1 We are therefore thrown back again upon the 
Sheriffs accounts, but, although we can gather from these 
that the lease of 1509 to Ithell and Bebynton was pro- 
bably renewed up to the year 1529, even the Sheriff's 
accounts then fail to give us the lessees' names for a 
period of sixty-five years. From 1530 to 1595 all we know 
is that the Hundred was farmed out at the old rent of 
i, us. 8d. Such insignificant franchises as that of a 
Hundred had probably been swamped in the rush of new 
Crown property which followed upon the dissolution of 
the monasteries and abbeys. A special Court to deal 
with the forfeited lands and the suits concerning them 
was created under the name of the Augmentation Court. 
This Court was dissolved by Queen Mary, but the Aug- 
mentation Office remained, and it is there that we find 
the next lease of the Hundred of Wirral. In 1596 Queen 
Elizabeth granted a twenty-one years' lease 2 of "All our 
Hundred of Wyrehall " to one Cuthbert Venables whom the 
writer has been unable to identify with any of the Cheshire 
families of that name. 3 The franchise of the Hundred is 
referred to as part of the late possessions of the Earls of 
Chester, and was granted by Queen Elizabeth in as full 
and ample a manner as any of the Earls could have done. 
A fine was paid by the lessee, but the rent remained at 

1 The enrolments, of course, may exist, but Crown leases at this time are scat- 
tered in various books and records, which are scarcely indexed at all and very 
difficult to search. 

2 Augmentation Office Misc. Books, vol. ccxxviii., fol. 148. Printed App. II. No. 8. 

3 He seems to have left no will or administration, and his name has not been found 
in any pedigree of the Venables family which the writer has met with. 


315. 8d. The lease contains a very full description of the 
rights and perquisites of the Hundred, and is a much more 
elaborate affair than any of the earlier ones. One or two 
changes which had gradually occurred in the form of the 
lease are here worth noting. The fourteenth and fifteenth 
century leases do not mention the rights and perquisites 
of the bailiff or bedell, and we have been driven for our 
information on these points to the Sheriffs accounts. The 
lease of 1507 to Robert Trafford is a little more elaborate 
in its terms, and it is noteworthy that it does not mention 
the bailiff or bedell. The fact was that the description of 
the lessee as a bedell was gradually dropping out, and the 
title does not occur in the annual accounts after the com- 
mencement of the reign of Edward VI. Both the bailiff 
and the bedell became lost in the maze of words by which 
it became the custom to describe the Hundred and its 
rights, and, practically, the titles are only to be found in 
England after about this date in a few towns, or as 
applied to that other class of officer whose business it is to 
serve writs. 1 The leases become in point of form leases 
of the Hundred, but there can have been no practical 
difference in the position of the lessees, and the alterations 
were probably only the outcome of the system of elaborate 
conveyancing then in vogue. What the Crown lessees 
got at this date in return for their rent, and what were 

1 Sometimes called bailiffs errant or itinerant. In the reign of Henry VIII. David 
Fraunceys was made bailiff errant for the Hundred of Wirral, but as for some reason 
he could not lawfully hold the office, he was granted an annuity for life of 403. Signed 
Bills (Welsh Records), 24 Oct. 9 Hen. VIII. 


the sources of the revenue out of which they were to pay 
such rent, may be seen on reference to the lease, but the 
general nature of the rights has been already indicated, 1 
and it must not be supposed that the lengthy list of 
privileges now enumerated contained anything new. On 
the contrary, it is safe to say that in 1596 the actual 
sources of the revenue of the lord of the Hundred were 
not nearly so numerous as they had been many hundreds 
of years before, and of all those that remained the actual 
income had, no doubt, dwindled very much. It could 
hardly have been argued that the fines and fees of the 
Superior Courts of record held at Chester or at the Assizes, 
or before the Justices of the Peace for the county, 2 were 
included in the lease, but the Crown lawyers took care to 
make it clear that it did not include them, nor the fees 
taken at the Court held by the Clerk of the Market, 3 for 
the collection of all of which they reserved liberty for the 
officers of the Crown to enter the Hundred. 

The lease to Venables expired in 1617, and for the 
next eleven years the Hundred remained in the hands of 
the Crown. 

On November 5, 1628, a twenty-seven years' lease* 
was granted to William Trafford (of Bridge Trafford), 

1 Ante, p. 30. 

2 The establishment in the reign of Henry VIII. of a regular and efficient supply of 
Justices of the Peace for Cheshire would tend still further to reduce the business of 
the Hundred Courts. 

8 A royal official who held courts in every city, borough, and town for the trial of 
weights and measures and questions as to the prices of commodities. He was super- 
seded by 5 & 6 Will. IV. c. iii. 

4 Land Rev. Enrol, vol. clvii. f. 122. Printed App. II. No. 9. 


gentleman, by deed under the hands and seals of Sir 
John Walter, Chief Baron of the Court of Exchequer, Sir 
James Fullerton, one of the Gentlemen of the Bedchamber, 
and Sir Thomas Trevor, Baron of the Court of Exchequer, 
the trustees of the property of King Charles I. It ap- 
pears from the lease (which, unlike the previous one and 
the immediately subsequent ones, is in English) that four 
years before Trafford had arranged for a lease for thirty- 
one years and had paid a fine of ^10, but had never taken 
up the lease. The rent of the new one remained 315. 8d. 
as before, and Trafford agreed to provide "A sufficient 
Stewarde skillful in the lawes to keepe the courtes within 
the Hundred," and to pay his fees and also all the expenses 
of keeping up the Courts. This clause does not again 
appear, and may have been thought superfluous. Another 
new obligation was to submit to the commissioners of the 
King's revenue a statement of all the fines, issues, and 
profits of the Hundred, so that the King's inheritance 
may be the better known and preserved. A system of 
enrolling the leases was now also definitely inaugurated. 

This Trafford was a son of Thomas Trafford of Bridge 
Trafford (who died in 1625) and Alice Massy, daughter of 
William Massy of Puddington. William Trafford died 
in 1636 and the lease somehow became vested in his 
cousin, Sir William Massy of Puddington, Knight, who 
was one of the trustees of the marriage settlement of 
William Trafford's son and heir Thomas. 1 

1 Vide Inq. p.m. 13 Car. I. 


Sir William Massy took the Royalist side in the civil 
war and assisted to hold Chester against the Parliament. 
Upon the reduction of Chester he compounded for his 
delinquency with a fine of ^1414, and it appears from his 
papers 1 that at that date (1646) he was possessed for 
eight years yet to come of the franchise of the Hundred 
of Wirral and certain casual profits within the same, 
under the lease of 1628. We also are told that in ordi- 
nary years the profits of the Hundred were then worth 
<\ a year more than the rent (i, us. 8d.), a fact which 
prepares us for an increase of the latter later on. The 
steward at this time was one John Wilson, and he certifies 
a list of fees of the Hundred Court, which has been pre- 
served. 2 One penny was charged for every "essoyne" 
(or excused attendance at the Court), a summons cost 2d., 
whilst a fee of 4d. was payable on entry of an action, for 
issuing execution, and for service of it. Sixpence for 
"amerciament " was no doubt a fee payable in addition 
to the fine. These figures seem small, but the value of 
money in those days must not be forgotten. 

Massy's lease ran out in 1655, and for the next few 
years the Hundred remained in the hands of the Crown. 

In 1661, Sir Charles Harbord, the Surveyor-General 
of the Revenues of the Crown, instructed the Auditor to 
make a new report upon the leases of the Hundred of 

1 Printed in "The Cheshire Sheaf" (3rd Ser.), vol. i. p. 114. Mr. T. Helsby's 
comments at p. 1 19 are wide of the mark. 

2 Harl. MSS. 2078. f. 147. Wilson was also steward of Caldy Hundred Court, 
then held for William Glegg of Gayton, a distant cousin of Sir William Massy. The 
fees are identical save that no fee is mentioned for amercement. 


Wirral. The reason for this report was an application, 
in 1660, by one John Carter for a lease of the Hundred. 
Apparently Carter was willing to pay 205. more rent 
than his predecessor, but before a lease was granted 
the Surveyor-General thought it desirable to obtain the 
usual report upon the earlier ones. The report is pre- 
faced by a Latin description of the Hundred and its 
rights, practically the same as that contained in the 
leases to Venables and Trafford, which are next referred 
to. Then comes a memorandum in English, constituting 
the report of the Auditor. After dealing with the two 
last leases, he says: "The premisses were granted by 
way of lease and not [by] way of custody, without the 
clause of Si quis plus dare voluerit sine fraude vel malo 
ingenio, but I find that the said William Trafford did 
pay a fine of tenn pounds to his said Majestic when he 
was Prince of Wales." This seems to require a little 
explanation. When a Hundred was in the hands of a 
sheriff or of a bailiff who held no lease, he held it as 
"custos," and it was his duty, simply as an official, to 
account for actual revenue ; he made no profit. On the 
other hand, the farmer who took a lease paid his rent to 
the Sheriff and made what he could. It was usual for 
leases of this kind to contain a power 1 to increase the 
rent if a bond fide offer of more was forthcoming ; but a 

1 The clause usually ran as follows : " Si quis sine fraude vel malo ingenio pro 
firma predicta de incremento infra terminum predictum plus dare voluerit tune dictus 
AB. tantum pro eadem soluere teneatur si firmam habere voluerit supra-dictam." 
See the fee farm leases in the App. to Prof. Muir's " History of Municipal Government 
in Liverpool." 


system of fines was adopted instead in the case of the 
Hundred leases. 

Following upon the report 1 (which is otherwise unin- 
teresting) comes a Minute of the terms upon which the 
desired lease will be granted, as follows : 

1 'This Perticular is made by my Lord Treasurer's 
order of the 27th December last upon the humble Peticion 
of John Carter for a lease of the premisses to be granted 
unto him for one and twenty years in such manner as the 
same were granted to William Trafford above mencioned 
at the above said rent of xxxis. viiid. and twenty shillings 
per annum de incremento, if your lordships think fitt in 
lieu of a fine of Tenn pounds as was paid upon the 
first lease. Provided that both the said rents be duly 
paid at Michaelmas and the Annunciacion by equal por- 
cions during the time or within forty dayes next past 
either of the said feasts. And that the lease be enrolled 
within six months after the date before the clerk of the 
Pipe or else become voyd," &c. 

In consequence of these recommendations the next 
leases of the Hundred of Wirral are to be found enrolled 
in the Pipe Office of the Exchequer. 

The lease to John Carter, gentleman, for twenty-one 
years at the increased rent of 515. 8d. per annum was 
granted on May 12, 1662. 2 The obligation to render 

1 Pipe Office, Crown Leases, No. 2821. 

8 Pipe Office, Crown Leases, No. 2859. Printed App. II. No. 10. 


a list of the profits of the franchise was enlarged to a 
covenant, within three years, and in every following seventh 
year, to lodge a schedule or rental, on parchment, of the 
revenue from the Hundred, with the names and addresses 
of all the inhabitants of the Hundred, and of the vills and 
hamlets contributing to the revenue. 

Whether any such rentals were ever filed is doubtful, 
as no trace of them has been found. The obligation to 
render them occurs in subsequent leases and can scarcely 
have been an empty one. The information contained 
in such documents would have been of considerable 

Carter was probably the same person as the John 
Carter who, a few years before, was made steward of 
Denbigh by Charles II. 1 His lease was due to run out 
in 1683, but before that date it seems to have become 
transferred, probably by sale, to Randulph or Randle Dod, 
no doubt one of the Dods of Edge in Cheshire. 

In 1679, Thomas Dod, perhaps a son or brother of 
Randle, petitioned for a new lease of the "Stewardship 
of Wirral." In view of the recent increase of rent, no 
new survey was thought necessary, and the Crown surveyor 
agreed to give the option of a thirty-one years' lease from 
1679 on the surrender by Randulph Dod of the existing 
one, or a twenty-seven years' lease from 1683. Dod chose 
the former, and on the 25th November 1679 the new lease 2 

1 Grig. 12 Car. II. rot. 57. 

2 Pipe Office, Crown Leases, No. 3261. Printed App. II. No. II. 


was granted at the old rental. 1 Apparently the covenants 
of the last lease had not been too carefully observed, and 
pressure had had to be exercised on the lessee, but, as it 
appears that no distress to enforce their observance was 
allowed to be taken on grants of this kind, Dod had to 
give a bond in 100 penalty to the King's Remembrancer 
to carry out his obligations. Dod's lease of 1679 became 
vested (whether by sale, descent, or otherwise is not clear) 
in Edward Glegg of Irby in Wirral, the son of Edward 
Glegg of Caldey Grange, by a second wife Anne. He 
was born about 1658, and married Jane, daughter of 
John Scorer, gentleman, of Westminster. She died in 
1720, and was buried at Thurstaston. There are no 
records of his lordship of the Hundred, which was now 
in the hands of one of the most prominent families in 
Cheshire and one resident in the Hundred ; and there it 
remained for upwards of a hundred years. Edward Glegg 
died on December 15, 1703, and by his will (which is dated 
only ten days before his death) he left the bulk of his 
property to Sir William Glegg of Gayton, his father-in- 
law John Scorer, and his only brother John Glegg of 
Tranmore, on trusts for his family. The will was proved 
at Chester on January 29, 1703, by Scorer, and also in 
October 1708 by the widow. It does not refer to the 
lease of the Hundred, which passed to his executors. 

The lease ran till 1710, but in 1704 it was renewed 2 

1 Cf. the rent of 475. paid in 1681 for the Hundred of Bucklow. 

2 Pipe Office, Crown Leases, No. 3801. Printed App. II. No. 12. Compare the rent 
of 2, js. and i as a heriot paid in 1701 for a lease of the Hundred of Bucklow. 


by Scorer, the executor, for twenty-five years from 1710, at 
the old rent of 515. 8d. The new lease from Queen Anne 
took the form of a grant to Scorer in trust for John Glegg, 
the son and heir of Edward Glegg of Irby, and then a 
minor. Apparently there was some suggestion that 
Edward Glegg had parted with a portion of the Hundred 
and its rights, as in the lease we find a clause (which 
does not appear again) providing that on proof by any 
assignee of Edward Glegg of his right to a share of the 
Hundred, the executor should assign to him a like part 
of the new lease on payment of costs, &c. No such 
person seems to have come forward. 

John Glegg was a Justice of the Peace for Cheshire. 
He married Frances, eldest daughter of Edward Birken- 
head, and co-heiress with her sister Deborah, wife of 
William Glegg of Grange, to the estates of her uncle, 
Thomas Birkenhead of Backford Hall in Wirral, the 
present residence of this branch of the Glegg family. 
She was born in 1704, and survived her husband for 
some years, dying in 1791. 

The Crown lease was twice renewed during John 
Glegg's life. In April 1734, a year before it would have 
expired, a new lease 1 of the "farm or custody of our 
Hundred of Wirehall and of the Courts and perquisites 
there" was obtained from George II. This lease was for 
twenty-nine years from 1735 and at the old rent. Again, 

1 Pipe Office, Crown Leases, No. 4373. Printed App. II. No. 13. In this lease 
the previous lessee is by mistake called " Peter Storer." 


in March 1759, the lease was renewed 1 for twenty-five 
years from 1764. The rent remained at 513. 8d., and the 
Hundred was now described as " parcel of the revenues 
of the Crown of England." 

The only Court Roll of the Hundred of Wirral that is 
known belongs to this period. Unfortunately the roll 
itself is missing, and the particulars that follow are taken 
from a partial copy of it. 2 It was written on three sheets 
of foolscap, and appears to have been in two handwritings. 
The main body of the record was probably written by the 
steward, while the " presentments " seem to have been in 
the writing of an illiterate "jurier," with additions by the 
steward to explain them. 

The roll is headed in the usual style as follows : 

Hundred of The Court Leet, Court Baron and View of ffrank 
Worrall Plege of John Glegg gentl m . Held for the said 

To wit Hundred the nineteenth Day of April in the seven- 

teenth year of the Reigne of our Sovereigne Lord 
George the Second and in the year of ourLorde 1744 
before John Glegg gent m . 

Then followed the names of the suitors of the Court, 304 
in number, and coming from sixteen townships of Wirral, 
viz. "Wallazey," " Pool ton and Seacomb," Liscard, 
Higher " Bebbington," Prenton, Capenhurst, Pudding- 
ton, Little Neston, Hooton, Ness, "Tranmore," "Caldie," 
Landican, Arrow, Ledsham, and Woodbank. Dr. Hume 3 

1 Pipe Office, Crown Leases, No. 5099. Printed App. II. No. 14. 

2 Trans. Hist. Soc. of Lanes, and Ches., vol. xxvii. p. 183. 

3 In Trans. Hist. Soc. (loc. cit.). 


notes that nearly all the suitors seem to have been house- 
holders, which is not unnatural seeing that the obligation 
to do suit and service at a Hundred Court was founded 
in residence within its jurisdiction. Forty-three resided 
in Tranmere, thirty-four in Wallasey, twenty-nine in Little 
Neston, twenty-seven in Ness, eight at Ledsham, and six 
at Landican and Woodbank. 

The presentments are chiefly for non-attendance to do 
suit and service at the Court, e.g. : 

" Every one that did not appear that do belong to this 
Court this day we fine in one shilling each." 

"The inhabittan of Puddingto[n] for not appeering at 
this Coart in twelf pence each." 

Nineteen persons were fined sixpence each for "beak 
in " (breaking) the "size " of bread and ale. 

" Walzey. We order every person that belongeth to 
the pasture ditch, if a gap be broken down, after 24 hours 
notis if not made up, to pay io/- for every default after 
notis from y e constable or warned in the churchyard. 

"We present Henery Bird, Mr. Hyde, Elizebeth Hill, 
John Mulenex, John Ranford, James Ranford, Tho. 
Bertels in 5/- each for breach of an order (of last Court 
for not keeping up their pasture fence). 

"We present Joseph Robison for taking a large tree 
away being a weaf, 1 in one pound. 

1 No doubt blown down by the wind and a perquisite of the lord. 


" Capinhurst. We order John Mayson to cut and ditch 
betwixt John Mayson poolhay corner and John Baxter's 
poolhay corner betwixt and next Cort, in pain of io/-. 

" Liskit. We order every person that turneth seep [sic] 
out to the common without a separd shall pay twelve 
pence each sheep. 

" Tranmore. We order George Myres to take away the 
thorns that ly in the gate in the Rode to Samuel friest's 
holt, betwixt and the first of May next, in pain of twenty 

No civil proceedings in the nature of actions for debt, 
trespass, &c., are mentioned, but it was not customary 
to record these on the rolls, which would only contain the 
names of the suitors at the annual View of Frankpledge, 
and the presentments of the leet jury. 

These entries may be said fairly to illustrate the petty 
and yet useful jurisdiction of the Court in those days. It 
is to be regretted that more of such rolls have not survived, 
as they would throw much light on the history, develop- 
ment, and customs of the Hundred of Wirral. 1 

1 That rolls were kept whilst the Court was in the hands of the Glegg family is 
shown by this solitary roll of 1744, but Mr. Birkenhead Glegg of Backford Hall, the 
present head of the Irby family, has been unable to show the writer any. He possesses 
a fine series of rolls for his Manors of Irby and Greasby, running almost continuously 
from 1692 to 1766 and from 1790 to 1820 (which it is hoped he may some day allow to 
be examined) and, from the regularity and care with which these have been kept by 
the Glegg's various stewards (who would probably also be stewards of the Hundred 
Court) during a period almost exactly coinciding with the Gleggs' farm of the Court 
of Wirral, it seems more than likely that rolls for the Hundred Court were equally 
well kept. It is possible that they may yet be found. 


It will be noticed at once that persons from only sixteen 
out of the threescore or more townships which existed in 
Wirral at this date appear to have owed suit and service 
to the Hundred Court. In the absence of further rolls it 
is unsafe to infer that these were the only townships at 
this date within the jurisdiction of the Hundred view and 
leet, but it is probably the fact. It must be remembered 
that suitors who were bound to attend a manorial court leet 
were excused from going to the leet of the Hundred, and 
that a manorial View of Frankpledge released the tenants 
of that manor from attendance at the Sheriff's Turn. 1 
Now there were a great number of manorial leets in 
Wirral, and several persons were entitled to a View of 
Frankpledge in various parts of the peninsula, and a care- 
ful examination of the townships reveals the fact that the 
ones absent from the Hundred roll are just those which 
were, at some time or other, within a manorial leet or view. 
On the other hand, those whose residents did suit at the 
Hundred Court in 1744 seem to have been attached to no 
manorial leet, except in two or perhaps three cases, which 
may possibly be accounted for by the local leet jurisdic- 
tion having lapsed, so causing them to come within the 
leet of the Hundred. This explanation of the small 
number of townships attending the Hundred Court is 
not insisted upon, but seems a natural one. 2 The fact 

1 Stubbs" " Constitutional History," vol. i. p. 400. 

2 The facts upon which this theory is put forward cannot be adduced here, but 
are based upon the particulars of the courts leet in Wirral given in Ormerod (1882), 
vol. ii. 



that its leet jurisdiction was limited in this way would 
not affect the civil or Court Baron jurisdiction of the 
Hundred Court, which seems to have been exercised up 
to the last more or less all over the Hundred. 

The death of John Glegg occurred on May 14, 1768. 
By his will, dated December 2, 1767, he left all his personal 
property to his wife, and appointed her and his son John 
(born December 6, 1732) executrix and executor. The 
will was proved at Chester by the son alone on June 17, 
1 769, but before that date it was thought proper to vest 
the remaining- years of the lease of the Hundred in him. 
This was effected by a deed, 1 dated August 6, 1768, by 
which, for a nominal consideration, the widow trans- 
ferred the franchise to her son and took from him the 
usual indemnity. Our knowledge of this deed is owing to 
the obligation to enroll assignments, which was inserted 
in leases after 1734. 

A third Glegg now became lessee of the Hundred 
of Wirral and held the office for thirty-eight years until 
his death. In the meantime he renewed the lease in 1786 
for twenty-seven years from ijSg 2 and still at the old 
rent of 515. 8d. which was fixed in 1662. No fine was 
exacted on the new lease. This John Glegg, who re- 
sided at Ashfield House, Great Neston, married his 
cousin Betty Glegg in 1762, and died on March 6, 1804. 
His will is dated July 9, 1802, and was proved at 

1 Land Rev. Enrolments, vol. xvi. See App. II. No. 15. 

2 Pipe Office, Crown Leases, No. 6012. Printed App. II. No. 16. Compare the 
rent of 2, IDS. for the Hundred of Bucklow, raised in 1813 to 3, los. 


Chester on May 15, 1804, by his widow. Under its 
provisions the Hundred devolved on his son and heir, 
afterwards Lieutenant-General Birkenhead Glegg (born 
November i, 1765), who, therefore, became the lessee 
of the lordship of Wirral for the twelve remaining years 
of the Crown lease, which ran out in 1816. It was not 
renewed, and thus the Hundred of Wirral passed out of 
the hands of the Gleggs who had farmed it for upwards 
of a century. 




State of the Hundred Courts William Button's attack The Court of West 
Derby The Crown sells the Hundred The Claremont Estate Act John 
Williams The Crown grant Wreck Royal fish Queen Elizabeth's 
inquiry, 1595 Treasure trove Conviction of Williams for Forgery 
Transfer of the Hundred in Prison Common Law Commission. 

AT the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Hundred 
Courts all over England had sunk very low. They had 
long survived their usefulness ; the gradual fall in the 
value of money rendered the limit of jurisdiction obsolete ; 
their ancient duties were almost all performed by the 
justices or by the police ; and, like many another institu- 
tion which has lived too long, they became a nuisance. 
Their cumbrous machinery of legal processes, ill adapted 
for the trifling disputes for which it was put in motion, 
was used as an engine of oppression. Rapacious stewards 
and attorneys took advantage of the right to use almost 
all the processes of a superior Court, to foment and 
exploit petty disputes, to pile up bills of costs out of 
all proportion to the case, and to extract payment by 
iniquitous distresses to the ruin of the unfortunate debtor. 

As, however, the Courts were chiefly in the hands of 

8 4 


titled or important county families, any attempt to dis- 
pute such vested interests was not very likely in those 
days to succeed. 

In 1789 a vigorous onslaught upon the Hundred 
Courts had been made by William Hutton, who was 
one of the commissioners of the Birmingham Court of 
Requests. A number of these local courts had been 
established some years before for the recovery of small 
debts, and Hutton actively advocated an extension of 
their jurisdiction. Besides writing an account of his 
own Court, he also published a pamphlet 1 in which 
he strongly contrasts the advantages of the Courts of 
Requests (where there was no jury) with the abuses 
existing in the Hundred Courts. He deals chiefly with 
the Hundred Court of Hemlingford (Warwickshire), but 
"in exhibiting one we see all," he says, and his de- 
scription of a Hundred Court is well worth quoting : 
"A Court chiefly applied to by the ignorant, and those 
who delight in the sweet but poisonous feast of revenge 
a Court which multiplies the evils it was meant to 
redress ; directed by craving leeches who suck the 
deepest where there is no blood to spare." The feel- 
ings of a stranger attracted to the Court by curiosity 
are thus described : 

" While he breathes this polluted air, he will doubt 
whether he breathes in a land of freedom. If he 

1 "A Dissertation on Juries, with a Description of the Hundred Court": 
Birmingham, 1789. Published as an Appendix to his "Courts of Requests," 1787. 


happenes to be an antiquary, he will find this the only 
species of antiquity in the neighbourhood that disgusts 
him ; if a divine, he will have ocasion to warn his 
hearers to avoid two places ; if a lawyer, he will wish 
himself in one ; if he be no housekeeper, 1 he will con- 
gratulate himself that he is out of its reach ; and, if it 
was possible he could, in any place, rejoice because he 
possessed no property, it might be in this. He will 
observe, they are seldom troubled with penetrating to 
the root of the question, but content themselves with 
the, fruit. He will also perceive the jury are composed 
of the lowest class, collected from the shop, the street, 
and the ale-house, who, having no character to keep, 
have none to lose ; equally narrow in understanding 
and in fortune ; humbly submitting to direction, and, 
by echoing back the words of the Judge, become the 
magpies of the Court. A degenerate Court can only 
be served by a degenerate Jury ; in both the observer 
will discover a family likeness, they exactly tally, but 
with this difference, while one carries off the golden 
fleece, the other looks wistfully on." 

The methods of business can best be gathered from 
the following extract : 

" While an attorney frequently concerned in the 
Hundred Court sat smoaking his pipe in a public- 
house, he observed to the landlord, * if he had any 
money owing him, he could easily recover it without 

1 The jurisdiction of the Hundred Courts was founded in residence. 


trouble or expense.' 'I have none,' replied the land- 
lord, to this silver bait, 'but what I expect in due 
course;' 'yes,' answered his wife with a smile, 'John 

M owes for two mugs of ale.' With this slender 

authority the attorney proceeded against him in the 
Hundred Court for four-pence. The expence soon 
mounted to more than two pounds, at which price his 
effects, perhaps, had been rated, and poor John's bed 
was taken from under him with his other trifling chattels, 
and he with his family despoiled of housekeeping. The 
Bailiff of the Court who took the distress and sold the 
property, forgot to render an account, or return the 
overplus, for which John was directed to sue him in 
the Court of Requests. The landlord appeared and de- 
clared he never gave, nor intended to give, an order 
to pursue him in any Court, believing he would pay 
him without, and that his wife meant no more than a 
jest. Upon enquiry there appeared four shillings due 
to John which the Court awarded against the Bailiff, 
who, being a stranger to tender sensations and habitu- 
ate'd to acts of violence, was in no way abashed ; but 
of all the persons in the Court, seemed the only one 
who felt no pity for this hard case, a case where the 
little delinquent was surprised into ruin, and where the 
crime and the punishment bore no proportion." 

Probably the Court of Wirral was not at this date 
quite so scandalous an institution as the one depicted 
by Hutton, but similar abuses were to be found all over 


the country. Across the Mersey the Wapentake or 
Hundred Court of West Derby, then held by the Earl 
of Sefton, as hereditary steward under a grant from 
Henry VI., became a public scourge, and a "Waping- 
tax " was a well-known weapon with which to threaten 
one's neighbours upon the slightest excuse. In 1818 
a request of Egerton Smith, the editor of the Liverpool 
Mercury, to be furnished with instances of abuses in the 
Hundred Courts, produced, amongst others, the follow- 
ing letter, written by an unlucky man against whom a 
neighbour had commenced an action for "words" (in 
which a penny damages would frequently carry five or 
six pounds of costs) : 


The whole concarn of the waping tax was in this 
way. My wief lost a new cloak and the woman that 
lived in our room was in and out for too or three ours 
aftar we went to bed, then I went the next night and 
spoke to hur why she was in and out tell 2 or 3 in 

the morning. She went to Mr. in the square and 

sent me a waping tax, which I was very straing in 
the concarn of it and what was best to do. the wief 

and I went to and told him my situatiun and 

It was very roagish mater, that what I did say to the 
woman was in the room only both and no witness. 
All this would not doo I must pay to him 1, IDS. od. 
or elce my goods must go. we praid and tould him 
that we had 5 small children and was very hard with 


us. then he said he would take i, 55. 7^d. then the 
we agreed to pay so much a wick, so that we paid 
so far as us. and then my wief throw povarty mised 2 
wick, and the 3 wick on wensday at noon he sent 3 
of his booms to our house. Wei thay would not go 
out of the house without 2, los. 7^d. more, then 
oi did as wel with them as oi could, then they did 

agree to take i t 55. od. and pay to the other 

i t 55. 7^d., so i did at 2s. per wick. So to remain 
your humble sarvant 


To the credit of the Earl of Sefton it must be said 
that he was unaware of the existence of such scandalous 
practices in connection with his Court, and he at once had 
new rules prepared to prevent such occurrences in future. 

After the expiration of Glegg's lease of the Hundred 
of Wirral, one might therefore have thought the Crown 
would have refrained from giving to any one the oppor- 
tunity of pillaging the poor of Cheshire in the guise of 
justice. It was, however, too much to expect that in the 
reign of George III. official notice would be taken of such 
matters, and not only did the Crown prolong the existence 
of the Wirral Court, but they parted for ever with any 
control over it. By selling the franchise outright they 
placed in the hands of a succession of unscrupulous 
persons a weapon which, for nearly forty years, hung 
threateningly over the heads of the inhabitants of Wirral 


or descended to maim and cripple them. During 1 the few 
years following the expiration of Glegg's lease the Crown 
had several applications from other persons for the Hun- 
dred, but eventually the Commissioners of Woods and 
Forests (in whom Crown franchises were now vested) de- 
cided to sell it by public auction. Two reasons appear to 
have influenced them. In the first place they were advised 
that the possession of the lordship of Wirral would very 
probably attract one of the large landowners in the 
Hundred, such as Sir Thomas Stanley (of Hooton) or an- 
other, who might consider it an honourable appurtenance 
to his estates, and in the second place the Commissioners 
were busy selling- Crown lands under the Claremont 
Estate Act. 

Owing to frequent improvident grants by the Crown 
of royal revenues and franchises, particularly by William 
III., various Acts, dating from the first year of Queen 
Anne's reign, had been passed, the effect of which was 
that all grants or leases from the Crown of any royal 
manors or franchises for any longer term than thirty-one 
years or three lives were (with certain immaterial excep- 
tions) void. It was necessary, therefore, before the 
Commissioners of Woods and Forests could sell any of 
them, that they should have power to do so by Act of 
Parliament. The power to sell in this case was given by 
an Act 1 passed in 1815 "for ratifying the purchase of the 
Claremont Estate and for settling the same as a residence 

1 56 Geo. III. c. 115. 


for Her Royal Highness the Princess Charlotte Augusta 
and His Serene Highness Leopold George Frederick, 
Prince of Coburg and Saalfield." 

Under this Act the manors of Esher and Milbourne, 
together with the mansion-house " Claremont," l were 
bought by the Crown for ,66,000, which was payable in cash 
produced by the sale of 3 per cent, consolidated annuities. 
The property was vested in the Commissioners of Woods 
and Forests, who were given power to sell Crown lands 
and franchises in order to raise the money to replace 
the 3 per cent, annuities which had been sold; and the 
Hundred franchise of Wirral was one of the properties 
sold under this Act. Its annual value by a recent survey 
was at this time set down as only i, i5s., 2 although the 
rent last reserved was, as we know, ^"2, us. 8d. 

The Hundred Court was advertised for sale by Messrs. 
Potts & Co. of Chester, on November 16, 1819. As a 
further inducement to purchasers, three privileges were 
added to the franchise which had never been leased out 
with it by the Crown. They were the rights to " wreck," 
to "royal fish," and to " treasure trove"; in other re- 
spects the franchise as offered for sale was the same as 
that possessed by the Gleggs. 

1 Claremont had been built by Lord Clive at a cost of 100,000 on the site of a 
house built by Sir John Vanbrugh, the architect. After passing through various 
hands, it was acquired as above for a royal residence. Princess Charlotte died 
there in 1817, and the King of the Belgians appropriated it for the use of the royal 
Orleans family after their exile from France in 1848. Queen Victoria acquired the 
property in 1882-83, and it became the residence of the Duchess of Albany. 

2 Fourth Report, Commissioners of Woods, &c., 1823. 


The auction took place at the " Pied Bull," the quaint 
old hostelry still standing in Northgate, Chester, and the 
strange sight was witnessed of a law court, with all its 
attendant rights, being put up to sale to the highest 
bidder. John Williams, attorney, of Liverpool, offered 
the most money, and the Hundred of Wirral was knocked 
down to him for ,230. 

Williams was a son of Samuel Williams of Great 
Neston in Wirral. He appears as an attorney from 1816 
onwards, and had his residence in Nelson Street, St. James, 
Liverpool. His office was in Union Court, Castle Street, 
which is still tenanted mainly by lawyers. In subsequent 
years Williams resided in Seacombe on account of his 
health. So far as can be gathered, and up to a certain 
point, he seems to have been a respectable person and to 
have had a fair practice as a solicitor. 

The sale was completed on the 8th April 1820, upon 
which day the ^230 was paid into the Bank of England. 
A copy of the deed of grant appears in Mortimer's "His- 
tory of the Hundred of Wirral," 1 but it is very inaccurate 
and incomplete. In this copy the price is stated to be 
^500. It seems scarcely likely that this was a clerical 
error, and it is probable that an incorrect copy of the 
grant was purposely supplied to Mortimer in order to 
magnify the importance of the Hundred Court. This 
supposition is strengthened by the fact that the copy in 
Mortimer omits entirely a long paragraph in the original 

1 Pp. 154-5. A complete copy appears at Appendix II. No. 17 to this book. 


grant containing various excepted fines and amercements, 
and certain powers, which were reserved to the Crown. 
The owner of the Court would, no doubt, be quite willing 
to create the impression that a high price had been paid 
for the privileges, and that his powers were not in any 
way curtailed. 1 

A few words must be said about the new rights which 
Williams succeeded in obtaining. 

The right to "wreck" was essentially a royal pre- 
rogative and was frequently granted out to lords of 
manors. No doubt Williams thought it might constitute 
a right of considerable value, having regard to the situa- 
tion of the Hundred of Wirral. Dr. Redhead (vicar of 
Rock Ferry from 1844 and previously curate at Bebing- 
ton) states he did not think that Williams had any idea 
that he was entitled to flotsam and jetsam, but that 
Moreton (who, as we shall see, subsequently became 
Lord of the Hundred) examined his powers more closely 
and found himself entitled to these things and more of 
which his predecessors had not dreamt. It is noticeable, 
however, that there is no express mention of flotsam and 
jetsam in the deed of 1820, and it was decided in the year 
1601 2 that in a royal grant of "wrecks," things flotsam 
and jetsam were not included, but only wreck actually 
thrown up or stranded on the coast. 

By granting "wreck" in the Hundred of Wirral to 

1 Mr. Peacock, the steward, was one of the original subscribers to Mortimer's 
book, and doubtless supplied the so-called copy of the deed. 
* Constable's Case, 5 Co. Rep. 107. 


Williams the Crown were clearly infringing on the rights 
of the numerous lords of manors there who already 
enjoyed the right to it, and we shall see later on that the 
power of the Crown to make such a grant was challenged 
and the claim of the Lord of Wirral disallowed. Pro- 
bably " wreck" was deliberately inserted by the Crown 
officials, as they were at this time actively engaged in 
urging the Crown's claim both to it and to foreshore all 
over the kingdom. 

The right to royal fish i.e. whale and sturgeon cast 
ashore or caught near the coast was one frequently 
granted away by the Crown elsewhere, but in the case of 
Cheshire it seems to have been jealously preserved. 1 The 
capture of a sturgeon was a matter of some importance. 
Among the records of the Corporation of Chester are 
copies of letters from the Mayor of Chester to the Lord 
Chamberlain in July 1593, announcing the capture of a 
sturgeon, which was brought before the Mayor. This fish 
seems to have been taken on the Wirral side of the Dee, 
near Blacon, and a dispute arose between the Mayor and 
Richard Trevor of Trevallin, who alleged it was taken on 
the Welsh side of the river, and belonged to him as Vice- 
Admiral or representative of the Lord High Admiral. 
Perhaps it was in consequence of this dispute that Queen 

1 By decree of the Admiralty Court, 20 Hen. VIII., the Prior of Birkenhead was 
declared entitled to royal fish, wreck, flotsam, jetsam, lagan, deodands, &c., within 
certain limits on the Mersey. Harl. MSS. 2010, f. 208 (48). But in his plea to Quo 
warranto, 27 Ed. III., the Prior had disclaimed wreck and royal fish ; and it does not 
appear how the Priory subsequently acquired the right to them. 


Elizabeth appointed a special commission 1 in 1596 con- 
sisting 1 of Peter Warburton, serjeant-at-law, and Hugh 
Beston, the Receiver-General for North Wales, to inquire 
into the capture of royal fish on the coast of Cheshire. 
The letters patent recited that it had been a palatine 
franchise from time immemorial to have all royal fish, 
such as whales, sturgeon, and "thorlhede" (porpoise), 
caught in or about the shores of Cheshire, brought to the 
Castle of Chester, where the customary fee was paid to 
the captor. But for some years the capture of such fish 
had been concealed and not reported, so that the per- 
quisites were being lost. Accordingly, juries were to be 
impanelled at the Hundred Courts of Wirral, Eddisbury, 
and Bucklow as those bordering on the sea and the rivers 
Dee and Mersey, and witnesses examined, in order to ascer- 
tain on oath what royal fish had been caught and by whom. 
The commissioners were given power to enter the liberties, 
and were to make a report to the next county sessions 
at Chester, and preserve the right of the Crown to fines. 

Williams, therefore, obtained a right which at one 
time was considered of considerable value. But the 
silting up of the Dee and the growing shipping of the 
Mersey made it unlikely that he or his successors would 
benefit by the capture of many whales or sturgeons in 
the nineteenth century. 2 

1 C. R. R. 261, m. 7, 5. A translation is printed in " The Cheshire Sheaf" (3rd 
Sen), vol. iv. p. 6. 

2 A curious seventeenth-century ballad giving- a description of a strange and 
miraculous fish (a whale) cast up on the meads of the Hundred of Wirral, is printed 
in "The Cheshire Sheaf" (3rd Sen), vol. iii. p. 6. 

9 6 

The right to " treasure trove" does not seem ever 
to have been exercised, but as the records of coroners' 
inquests are not preserved, it has not been possible to 
make sure. 

From this date to the abolition of the Court of the 
Hundred its reputation rapidly declined. Under the 
guise of the administration of justice, the process of the 
Court was used to oppress and harass the inhabitants 
of Wirral. Protests and appeals were unavailing, as 
the power of the Court was clear and the title of its 
owner beyond dispute. Owing, however, to the fact 
that there were very few newspapers circulating in 
Wirral at this date there has been difficulty in ob- 
taining definite information of the proceedings of the 
Court. Dr. Redhead records, however, that ^100 as 
a fine or damages were obtained by Williams from 
Archdeacon Clarke, vicar of Eastham, for an informal 
committal as magistrate, for which he was summoned 
before the Hundred Court, whilst a similar claim 
against the rector of Bebington, caused by a mistake 
of the Justice's clerk, was compounded for ^5 and ex- 

But John Williams did not enjoy the fruits of his 
enterprise long, as, in 1829, he was convicted of forgery. 
The conviction in those days would have had the effect 
of causing, by attainder, a forfeiture to the Crown of 
all his possessions, including the right to the Hundred 
Court, but, by previously executing a mortgage of all 


his property, he avoided this. A small pamphlet, 1 printed 
in Liverpool, gives an account of the trial, which took 
place at Lancaster Assizes before Mr. Justice Bailey on 
the 1 3th March 1829, and excited great and painful in- 
terest. It appeared that in 1825 Williams had forged the 
signature of one William Garner to a mortgage deed of 
land in Birkenhead in favour of a Miss Mather (afterwards 
Mrs. M'Clelland) who was one of Williams' clients. This 
lady advanced ^650 on the forged deed, and Williams 
misappropriated the money. It is believed, and at any 
rate it is charitable to suppose, that Williams obtained 
an advance from his father whilst in prison awaiting trial, 
in order to make restitution to Miss Mather. Whether 
this was his object, or whether it was done to avoid for- 
feiture, or to raise money for his defence, is unknown, 
but by mortgage deeds 2 of 23rd and 24th February 
1829, he transferred the Hundred Court and all the 
rest of his property to his father, Samuel Williams, 
in return for an advance of ,600 and further future 
advances not exceeding in all ^1000. The result of this 
transaction, effected probably in view of his certain con- 
viction, was that Williams divested himself of what is 
called the legal estate in the Hundred of Wirral, and, 
by his conviction, only forfeited the right to pay off the 
mortgage and so get his property back. The position 
was curiously complicated by the fact that he himself 

1 " The Trial of John Williams for Forgery," printed by W. Bethell, No. 9 William- 
son Street, Liverpool, 1829. 

3 In the possession of F. E. Roberts, Esq., solicitor, Chester. 



as Lord of the Hundred was entitled to the property of 
convicted felons. 

The bill of indictment at the trial was thirty feet long 
and contained sixteen counts and 500 law folios of words. 
Williams was sentenced to death, but the jury recom- 
mended him to mercy on the score of his previous good 
conduct to his wife and four children. Before leaving 
the assizes the judge reprieved him, and eventually his 
sentence was commuted to transportation for life. Ac- 
cording to Mrs. Gamlin and Dr. Redhead, the trans- 
ported convict (called by the latter "Roger" Williams) 
eventually became very wealthy in the colonies and kept 
up a large establishment there. However this may be, 
he disappears entirely from the history of the Hundred 

In 1828 Common Law Commissioners had been ap- 
pointed to inquire into the extent of the jurisdiction and 
authority of all borough and other local courts throughout 
the Kingdom, but, although the Hundred Court of Wirral 
appears in the list of courts, 1 no returns were made to 
the inquiries of the commissioners. The reason was 
possibly the conviction of John Williams, and the fact 
that his father had not, when their report was issued, re- 
started the sittings of the Court. 

1 4th Report, Pt. II. App. i. 38. 



Samuel Williams John Peacock, the steward Parliamentary Return for the 
Court Number of cases Distringas and Replevin Profits Dr. Redhead's 
effort to extinguish the Court Sittings at Neston Death of Samuel Williams 
His will Bequest of the Hundred to his grandson, Samuel Spencer. 

SAMUEL WILLIAMS was now, by virtue of the deed of 
1829, the Lord of the Hundred of Wirral, and owner of 
all the rights possessed by his son. He resided at Great 
Neston, and was born in the year 1768, so that he was 
sixty-one years old when he became Lord of Wirral. He 
was a man of little or no education. 

There is not very much information available of the 
history of the Court whilst he owned it, but there is no 
doubt he took advantage of his rights. Probably the 
Court was not active again until 1835, when, as was 
customary and necessary, a member of the legal profes- 
sion was appointed by Williams as steward and judge, 
to preside over and control the proceedings of the Court. 
John Peacock, who was appointed steward of the Hundred 
Court, was born about the year 1798. He was a solicitor, 
and in 1829 he became a member of the Liverpool Law 
Society, which had then been founded only two years. 
He was president of the Society in 1843-44, and was the 
founder of the late firm of Liverpool solicitors called 



Peacock, Cooper, & Gregory. Mr. Peacock died on the 
24th May 1886, aged eighty-eight, and was buried in 
Smithdown Cemetery, Liverpool. 

From a Parliamentary Return of I84O 1 we can obtain 
some official details of the Wirral Hundred Court at this 
period furnished by the steward. The jurisdiction of 
the Court was there stated to extend over the Hundred 
of Wirral : and the Court had cognisance of all debts 
and demands under 403. (a limit fixed, as we have seen, 
by the statute of Gloucester in the time of Edward I.). 
The officers of the Court at this date were the steward 
and the owner Williams, who acted as clerk. The duty 
of the latter was to issue writs, to file process, and 
conduct the ordinary business of the Court, but he was 
not allowed to issue execution in any case without per- 
sonally making the steward acquainted with the circum- 
stances. The office of the Court (presumably at Neston) 
was open daily from 10 to 4 for all purposes connected 
with its business, and the steward sat every fourth 
Monday for the trial of causes, hearing motions, &c. 
The extent of the business is shown by the fact that in 
1836 there were 195 suits entered, in 1837, 191, and in 
1838, 181, and that at the time of the Return, there 
were 138 actions pending in which the officer of the 
Court was receiving the debt and costs by instalments. 

1 Relating to Courts of Requests, Courts of Conscience, and other local courts. 
Parl. Papers, vol. xli. It appears from this Return that the only other Hundred 
Courts alive at this date in Cheshire were those of Bucklow and Macclesfield neither 
of which were doing much business. 


Among the processes of the Court mentioned in the 
Return was that of "distringas," which, in the Hundred 
Courts, operated to create great hardship. Upon pro- 
ceedings being commenced to recover, say, a debt of 
2S. 6d., the defendant, probably a poor person, had to 
enter an appearance to the action, and unless he could 
afford to pay an attorney los. for doing so, what was 
known as a "distringas " was levied upon his goods to 
compel him to appear, and all his property could be 
taken and sold by way of penalty. The proceeds did not 
go in any way in reduction of the debt, and the distringas 
might be levied three different times unless an appear- 
ance was entered by the defendant. The severity and 
injustice of this process was one of the strongest argu- 
ments for the abolition of the Hundred Courts. 1 

Another process which caused great hardship and 
oppression was that of " replevin" which consisted in 
a distraint upon the goods and chattels of the person in 
default who could only "replevy" or take them back upon 
complying with the order of the Court. This process was 
chiefly used to exact payment of fines, but also to enforce 
the attendance of jurors, whose goods were seized and held 
until they did suit and service to the Hundred Court. 2 

1 See a petition for the abolition of the Hundred Court of Hemlingford, set out in 
an interesting paper on "The Hundreds of Warwickshire," by B.Walker, A.R.I.B.A., 
vol. xxxi., Transactions of the Birmingham Archaeological Society. 

2 The cost of issuing any process was at this date not less than 8s. sd., whilst the 
fees alone in the case of a trial by jury exceeded the limit of the Court's jurisdiction and 
ranged from 2, gs. 6d. to 2, 153. There was an additional charge of 6d. per mile for 
serving the summons and a fee of 8d. to the bailiff for doing so. 


The Return already mentioned states that in the 
three years 1836 to 1838 there were thirty-three execu- 
tions, all against the goods of the debtor, as there was 
no power to issue one against the person. The steward 
adds a note that an execution was never allowed to 
issue if it could possibly be avoided, as it was often 
ruinous to the parties, who were generally labouring 
men ; and in all cases before issuing it, the clerk of the 
Court was required to send a printed circular intimating 
to the parties the consequence of not paying the debt 
and costs. It seems likely that this explanatory and 
gratuitous note was caused by the complaints of the 
oppressive nature of the proceedings of the Court, which 
were being made about this time. A further note states 
that as a considerable part of the business of the Court 
came from Birkenhead, the clerk of the Court attended 
in the neighbourhood every week for the convenience 
of suitors. 

The net profits of the Court were at this date equally 
divided between the owner and the steward, and the 
Return states that "for the last three years they amounted 
to ^285, 93. 3d." Presumably this is the aggregate for 
the three years and not the annual figure. It represents 
less than ^100 per annum for division between Williams 
and his steward, and it seems somewhat strange that a 
man of Peacock's position in his profession should have 
found it worth while to sit every month and to manage 
the Court for ^50 a year. 


Dr. Redhead l gives an account of the proceedings of 
the Wapentake Court about this date, and when he was 
curate of Bebington, in which he relates his efforts to 
extinguish the Court owing to the unjust and oppressive 
nature of its proceedings. Dr. Redhead states that about 
the year 1834 the possessor of the Court was "John 
Williams, the father of Roger, both attorneys, the latter 
having been transported in 1833." There seems to be no 
record of any one named Roger Williams ever having been 
connected with the Court, nor was there a Roger Williams, 
attorney ; and there is no doubt, as we have seen, that it 
was John Williams the son who was transported, and 
Samuel Williams the father who owned the Court in 1834. 
Dr. Redhead goes on to say that at the time "the County 
Courts Bill, which extinguished all minor courts was 
agitated," and that he endeavoured, by appeals to Lord 
Tollemache, Sir Philip Egerton, and others, to get the 
Wapentake Court of Wirral included in the schedule, but 
was unsuccessful. Probably he referred to the Bill which 
became the County Courts Act, 1846, and contained a 
schedule of local Courts of Request, which were thence- 
forth to be held as County Courts, and to which the 
County Court rules and regulations were to apply. As 
the Hundred Court of Wirral was not a Court of Request, 
and had not been constituted by Act of Parliament, it 
would not naturally be one of the Courts to appear in the 

schedule, and special provision would have had to be 


1 In " A Free Village Library." 


made in the Act for its extinction, which Dr. Redhead 
failed to obtain. A special Act for the purpose was 
suggested, but the expense of obtaining it was prohibi- 
tive. Dr. Redhead's efforts were, however, so far suc- 
cessful that Williams ceased to harry his parishioners. 
The establishment of these Courts of Requests and their 
development into the new County Courts was another 
nail in the coffin of the Hundred Courts. 

During the ownership of Samuel Williams the Court 
was held at Neston (then the largest township in Wirral) 
in the building situated at the northern corner of what is 
known as Pykes Weint. There Dr. Redhead appeared 
to intercede on behalf of several poor persons who had 
been fined or summoned, and found the old man Williams 
seated in a chair placed on a table. (Possibly this was 
before Peacock was appointed to preside as steward.) In 
reply to a demand for his authority, Williams said he had 
bought his privileges for a thousand pounds and there he 
would sit in spite of Dr. Redhead or any one else ; but he 
added, "Give me my money and I will give up my rights." 
If Williams was speaking the truth, then it would seem 
that, in addition to the ^600 advanced to his son whilst in 
prison, he had made the further advances necessary to 
bring the amount owing on the mortgage of 1829 up to 
the figure of 1000 contemplated by the deed, but it will 
be seen later on that he refers in his will to the amount 
owing as only ^600. 

In spite of his age, Samuel Williams continued to hold 


the Court, certainly until 1847, as Mortimer in his " History 
of Wirral " (published in that year) mentions that he was 
then holding" it. The old man was, however, in his dotage, 
and ceased to hold the Court for the last few years of his 
life. He died on May 14, 1853, aged eighty-five, and was 
buried at Great Neston parish church on the i8th May. 
His will was proved at Chester on i6th October of the 
same year. It was dated July 23, 1850, and in it he is 
described as "a gentleman." He appointed his friends 
James Woodward of Great Neston, schoolmaster, and 
Benjamin Maddocks of the same place, butcher, his 
general executors. He left legacies to his grandson, 
Samuel Spencer, and his grand-daughter, Sarah Jones, 
the children of his deceased daughter, Jane Jones. He 
bequeathed to his grandson, Samuel Spencer, the ^600 
due in respect of the mortgage of 1829, and devised to 
him the Hundred^ of Wirral and all the other property 
included in the mortgage. Further, he appointed Spencer 
as executor in respect of the ^600, although (he says in 
his will) "I do not expect the same to be recovered." 
The will was witnessed by "his friend" John Peacock, 
the steward. The value of his personal estate (other than 
the ^600 due on the mortgage) was under ^2000. A 
second grant of probate was made on the 23rd August 
1854 to Samuel Spencer as executor in respect of the 
;6oo. Apparently he had not considered it worth while 
till then to prove his title to the mortgaged Hundred 
franchise, but there is with the probate papers at Chester 


a letter, dated at Liverpool on August 19, 1854, from 
Robert Grace, solicitor, to the registrar of wills, Chester, 
saying that Samuel Spencer had sold his interest in the 
Hundred of Wirral, which was given to him under his 
grandfather's will, to Grace's client, Mr. Samuel Holland 
Moreton, for ^100, less expenses. 

Two new and striking characters now appear upon 
the scene, and the remainder of the history of the 
Hundred Court centres round their proceedings. 



Sale of the Hundred to Moreton Account of him The Wapentake Court 
revived at Neston, 1854 Robert Grace, the steward His disreputable 
character Contempt of Court Mr. Thomas Smith's experience His 
appointment as affeeror Oath of affeeror Fines for encroachments 
Unwilling jurymen Fines of Bebington residents Jurisdiction over high- 
ways enforced The Railway Company forced to repair the bridge at Tran- 
mere The reeve and ale-taster Description of the Court at Tranmere Castle 
Hotel Moreton claims the foreshore Cases at the Wapentake Court. 

THE notorious Samuel Holland Moreton was himself a 
solicitor, and so far as he is connected with the Hundred 
Court, he appears nearly always to have been in alliance 
with Grace ; probably it was Grace's idea that Moreton 
should acquire, and exploit for what they were worth, 
the rights of the Hundred Court, which had fallen into 
disuse during the last years of the life of Samuel Williams 
and had never been exercised by Spencer. At any rate, 
working, as it was rumoured at the time, upon the 
ignorance or poverty of Spencer, they induced him to 
part with his rights for the paltry sum of ^99, 193. 
The transaction was carried out by a deed, 1 dated 
September 23, 1854, made between Spencer and More- 
ton, whereby Spencer, under the powers of sale given 

1 In the possession of F. E. Roberts, Esq., solicitor, Chester. 


to his grandfather by the mortgage of 1829, transferred 
to Moreton all the rights over the Hundred of Wirral 
contained in the Crown grant of 1820. 

Samuel Holland Moreton was born about 1794. He 
was the son of a cobbler, and in his early days was 
himself a shoemaker, but forsook that occupation for 
the more remunerative one of lending money. He also 
in later years carried on the business of a licensed 
victualler in Liverpool. In 1833 he was admitted as a 
solicitor, and appears in the Law List, with some excep- 
tions, from that date up to the time of his death. He 
does not seem to have practised his profession to any 
great extent, but he continued his money lending, from 
which the greater part of his fortune was derived. At 
one time he lived at Rose Place, Liverpool, and had 
an office in Moorfields. In subsequent years he lived 
in Hunter Street, but having acquired some property 
in Shaw's Brow, he resided there until his death. He 
was a member of the Roman Catholic Church. In 1838 
he married Agnes Bell, who was one of a family of 
twenty-one (twenty girls and one boy), the children of 
a Liverpool minister ! 

Moreton is described as a man of avaricious and 
penurious tendencies, combined with a certain eccen- 
tricity of manner which served to cloak his real char- 
acter. He seems to have been entirely unscrupulous, 
and, whilst it was in his hands and under the steward- 
ship of Robert Grace, the reputation of the Wapentake 


Court of Wirral became blacker than ever. At the 
time when he purchased the Court he was comparatively 
well off, and the suggestion that the money he left at 
his death was made by him out of the Court has no 

Moreton was not long before he acted upon the rights 
acquired from Spencer, for in less than a month l we find 
in most of the local papers the following paragraph, 
obviously inspired by him : 

"The Neston Wapentake Court which had fallen 
into disuse for some years, has again been revived, and 
held its first sitting on Monday at Great Neston. The 
Steward or Judge of the Court is Mr. Moreton, Solicitor 
of this town, who has appointed Mr. Robert Grace, 
attorney, to be his deputy. Mr. Samuel Spencer, late 
district officer of the Birkenhead County Court, has 
been appointed High Bailiff of the Court. The object 
of the Wapentake is the recovery of small debts, and it 
will, we hear, besides sitting at Neston, hold adjourned 
sittings at Birkenhead and Liscard for the convenience 
of suitors." 

It will be observed that the civil or Court Baron 
jurisdiction of the Court is alone referred to, the Court 
Leet or quasi-criminal side being discreetly omitted from 
the notice. Spencer, it will be seen, received an appoint- 

1 October 21, 1854. 


ment, perhaps as part of the bargain effected with him 
by Moreton. The first sitting of the Court was no doubt 
formal, and no business seems to have been transacted. 

Robert Grace, generally known as "Bob" Grace, 
who was really the steward and judge, was born about 
1810. He also was a solicitor, and his name appears in 
the Law List fairly regularly from 1831. Early in his 
career he lived in Olive Mount and his office was in 
South Castle Street, but subsequently he went to live 
at Holt Cottage, Tranmere. He was a man of great 
ability, but a most eccentric and disreputable character. 
He had a high idea of his importance as steward, and 
on one occasion when the jurisdiction of his Court was 
disputed, he is reported to have exclaimed, "Sir, I 
would have you know that my Court has jurisdiction over 
everything except murder, piracy, and high treason." 1 
The boys in the streets of Tranmere, where the Court 
was often held, were in the habit, in consequence of his 
important air, of calling him " Lord Derby," and once 
when Grace was passing through the streets some of 
them made a chaffing reference to "Lord Derby's cocks 
and hens," which seems to have annoyed him. He 
struck one of them on the head with a bag containing 
a legal tome entitled " Roscoe on Evidence," which, as 
Grace's solicitor remarked, "had given many a hard 
knock in its time." For this assault Grace was fined. 2 

1 " W," in Liverpool Daily Post, Nov. 2, 1900. 
3 Liverpool Chronicle^ July 14, 1855. 


He was also fined on another occasion for being drunk 
and creating a disturbance at the overseer's office at 
Tranmere. 1 The overseer stated that "the judge" made 
a point of resorting to his house on all occasions when 
he so far forgot his judicial dignity as to give way to 
indulgence in drink, and that the day after the disturb- 
ance he added insult to injury by summoning the over- 
seer to serve as a juror to the Wapentake Court. 

Grace survived several years after Moreton's death in 
1869, and died on February 14, 1874, being found lying 
head downwards at the bottom of the stairs of his office 
in South Castle Street. There was no evidence how he 
came to fall, but he had been seen shortly before in a 
state of intoxication. 

His brains probably suggested to Moreton the acquisi- 
tion of the Court as a means of exacting money, and he 
seems to have been responsible for many of the remarkable 
proceedings that occurred during his stewardship. He 
presided in Court and there exercised his considerable 
legal knowledge in devising or unearthing fresh and safe 
methods of extortion. One of the safest and least assail- 
able was the power to fine for contempt of Court. As 
disobedience to any order was treated as contempt, it can 
easily be imagined how dangerous a privilege such a power 
could be in the hands of unscrupulous persons such as 
Moreton and Grace. Although the Wapentake Court had 
no power to imprison for debt, it could do so for contempt, 

1 Liverpool Chronicle > Sept. i, 1855. 


and it is said (though the writer cannot check this) that 
Moreton actually had persons lodged in the county gaol 
until a fine and an apology were forthcoming. 

Some interesting information as to the doings of More- 
ton's Court comes from Mr. Thomas Smith, aged eighty- 
five, now living in Cleveland Street, Birkenhead. In 1855 
Smith was living at Windle Hill, near Hinderton, in Wirral, 
and one day when he was at work in his garden, a man 
called to him to come at once to the Wapentake Court 
sitting at the Inn known as the Shrewsbury Arms, Hin- 
derton. He treated the summons as a joke, whereupon 
two men were sent and Smith was haled to the Court in 
his shirt-sleeves. On his arrival he found Moreton, 
Grace, and others seated at a table spread with food and 
drink. Grace informed him they were about to fine him 
20 for not coming at once, and that it was no joking 
matter. Smith was appointed one of the "affeerors" to 
the Court (an honour which he shared with Shakespeare, 
who held that post at Stratford-on-Avon). "Affeerors" 
or "taxators" were, by the effect of Magna Charta, a 
necessary feature of Hundred Courts. They were persons 
who, upon oath, settled and moderated the fines and 
amercements imposed for offences arbitrarily punishable, 
or that had no express penalty appointed by statute. No 
such fine could be inflicted by the Court until approved of 
by the affeerors, except in the case of a suitor present in 
Court who refused to act on the jury, in which case the 
steward could inflict a fine without consulting the affeerors. 


It will thus be seen that the position was a most respons- 
ible one. The oath of the affeeror was as follows : 

"You shall swear that you will well and truly tax, 
assess, and affier all the amerciaments presented in this 
Court, and in doing of that you shall not spare any for 
love, feare, nor affection, nor raise nor inhaunce any more 
grievous than shall be reasonable according to their deserts 
made, and not more nor less, nor for envy nor for love 
assess or affier, but upon every one severally according 
to the quantity of their offences made and not otherwise. 
So help you God, &C." 1 

Smith evidently fulfilled his delicate task to the satis- 
faction of the Court, as he acted again on several occasions, 
and saved many of his friends from being too heavily fined. 
In one case a neighbour built a wall for safety round a 
pond on his property next to the road. He was summoned 
for encroaching upon the road, and the Court proposed 
a fine of 20. Smith, as affeeror, objected that this was 
excessive, to which Grace, the steward, replied, " Nonsense, 
who is to pay for all this ?" pointing to the spread upon 
the table. The fine, however, was reduced to 10, as the 
affeeror stuck to his guns. The offender in this case was 
probably a flour-dealer, named Chesworth, of Bebington, 
who, according to Mr. Thomas Field, built a house at 
Windle Hill, and was fined for some such encroachment. 

1 Kitchin's "Jurisdictions. 



In spite of Smith's efforts, persons were fined practically 
on no grounds, the sums obtained being often spent in 
drink, and in entertaining any one in favour with the Court. 
The members of the Court, with a packed jury consisting 
of their friends, used to drive out from Birkenhead to 
Hinderton in an omnibus. They were usually dressed in 
shabby black tail or frock coats, and their appearance can 
be imagined from the statement of a witness who told the 
writer he could not in a week's time collect such a dis- 
reputable-looking crew in all Liverpool. 

One of the peculiar powers always incident to a Hun- 
dred Court was the right of the steward, when in want 
of jurors, to compel strangers riding or passing along the 
highway to come in and be sworn. This dangerous privi- 
lege was freely availed of by Moreton and Grace, and used 
as an instrument for extorting fines. Merchants and 
visitors on their way to and from town, and at the railway 
stations, were accosted and summoned to sit as jurors at 
the nearest public-house, in company with the riff-raff of 
the neighbourhood. A refusal was met by a fine, which, 
in default of payment, was exacted by means of seizure 
and sale of the recalcitrant's property. As the real object 
was not so much to obtain jurors as money, a second 
summons to serve would be issued, and so on as long as 
money in lieu of service was forthcoming. Dr. Redhead 
relates that half the residents in Bebington and many else- 
where, who were "worth a shot," had dealings more or 
less unpleasant with the Court. One gentleman, Mr. 


Dobbin, was fined three times at ^"50 each for non-attend- 
ance at Court, but in this case the greater part of the 
penalty was remitted upon submission. Mr. Fisher, 
another well-known resident, was summoned to attend, 
and, upon the advice of his solicitor, did so. Again he 
was impressed, and again he sat, so, as nothing could be 
made out of him, he was suffered to dwell in peace. 

The jurisdiction of the Court over highways and waste 
lands was actively enforced, and numerous fines inflicted 
for purprestures, i.e. encroachments. In one case a Wirral 
landowner employed a large number of stonemasons to 
erect a wall in a situation disapproved of by Moreton, who, 
on the completion of the work, at once took the masons 
into his service and paid them for pulling it down again ! 
The owner protested, and is said to have carried his griev- 
ance into the law courts at Chester, but, in common with 
many others who attacked the undoubted rights of the 
Lord of the Hundred, lost his case, and had to pay the 
costs. 1 

In one instance the powers of the Wapentake Court 
were put to a good use. The Birkenhead and Chester 
Railway bridge over Green Lane, Lower Tranmere, had 
for some years been in a state of disrepair. It leaked 
badly and the water remained undried under the arch- 
ways. Appeals to the Railway Company and orders by 
magistrates were unavailing, whereupon Grace, who re- 
sided in Tranmere, took the matter up. A jury of the 

1 Vide "A Free Village Library." 


Wapentake Court viewed the bridge, and the repairs were 
ordered to be done at once, under penalty of a fine of 
,100, and on pain, it is said, of seizure of the line and 
arrest of the manager and directors for contempt in case 
of non-compliance. One account states that, as the 
Company were still contumacious, the bailiffs of the Court 
seized a train about to start from Monks Ferry station ! 
This would be possible as there was no Act exempting 
railway rolling stock from seizure in those days. Mr. 
Thomas Field (now aged seventy-five), who was then 
stationmaster at Hooton, informed the writer that he did 
not think a train was stopped, as no doubt he would have 
heard of it ; but he thinks some waggons may have been 
seized. Notice was received by him from the manager 
of the Railway Company to attend at Birkenhead Police 
Court, to be sworn in as a special constable, a breach of 
the peace being anticipated. He attended, and found that 
all the other stationmasters on the line were also being 
sworn in. Instructions were issued to them by the Com- 
pany to resist any seizure, and in case of need to summon 
a body of platelayers and porters to defend the Com- 
pany's property. Mr. Field heard nothing more about 
the matter ; and the Company eventually repaired the 
bridge and removed the nuisance. 

The Hooton stationmaster's first experience of the 
Lord of the Hundred was of a different kind. Moreton, 
who was unknown to him, one day got out of the train, 
and found the platform door locked. His arrogance 


brooked no opposition or delay, and he proceeded to 
force the door open, and passed through to the omnibus 
which then ran from Hooton to Neston. The station- 
master came up and demanded who had broken open 
the door, and upon a stranger, who was seated in the 
bus, saying he had, seized him and knocked his head 
against the side. A bystander warned Field it was the 
dread Lord of the Wapentake, and that he would get 
into trouble, but nothing came of the affair as Moreton, 
though furious at the insult, doubtless saw he was in 
the wrong. 

A reeve or bailiff, and official Ale-Taster was ap- 
pointed by Moreton in the person of his clerk, Whittaker 
Edmondson. The duties of an Ale-Taster were to see 
that good and wholesome beer and ale were brewed, to 
taste them before sale, and to see that the price was 
within the legal limits ; and to enforce the proper weight 
of bread. For these purposes he had a roving commis- 
sion throughout the Hundred, and in case of default it 
was his duty to "present" the offender to the Court for 

Mr. Thomas Smith who, as we have seen, often was 
present as affeeror, states that Edmondson was not at 
all well received at Court by the steward unless he was 
able to present some one from whom a fine could be 
exacted for breach of duty. For this reason, and also 
no doubt because of a natural thirst, the Ale-Taster was 
very diligent in his duties, the performance of which 


seems to have necessitated a larger consumption of ale 
than he was capable of managing. It used to be an 
obligation on those who were entitled to enforce the 
assize of bread and ale in this way to keep a pillory and 
tumbril to punish faulty bakers and brewers. History 
does not relate whether Moreton did so, but we may be 
sure that if he had thought their provision would have 
brought him any advantage he would have kept them. 
Edmondson was probably one of the last Ale-Tasters 
ever appointed, the Rossendale Ale-Taster, Taylor, being 
perhaps the last in point of date. 1 

A description of the Court sitting at the Tranmere 
Castle Hotel has been supplied by Mr. George Clark, 
senior, and Mr. Thomas Garner, both ancient inhabitants 
of Birkenhead, who have very distinct recollections of 
the proceedings. 2 The hotel was kept by a family named 
Fernyhough, who were in close alliance with Moreton 
and Grace ; and the sittings of the Court there contri- 
buted largely to their takings. The Court sat in a 
very large parlour with an oblong table down the middle, 
and an elevated chair at one end for the judge or 
steward. Here Moreton would sit with a clay pipe in 
his mouth and a glass of drink beside him, and next to 
him his steward. Down the table sat the jury, and 
the rest of the space was occupied by onlookers, all of 
whom were liberally supplied with drink, paid for out 

1 See Notes and Queries (3rd Ser.), vi. 390; (yth Ser.), iv. 477. 

2 Birkenhead News, Sept. i and 8, 1906. 


of the fines or exacted under the name of "costs." Mr. 
Garner was present when his grandmother, Mrs. Ellen 
Garner, the licensee of the "Black Horse," Higher Tran- 
mere, was put upon her trial for damaging a fence. In 
spite of the efforts of Grace, she defended herself with 
such skill that a fine of one farthing only was inflicted, 
but she was condemned to pay costs, which were taken 
out in drinks all round to the assembled company. 

In June 1855, when the Bills under which the Mersey 
Docks and Harbour Board acquired the Birkenhead docks 
were before Parliament, we find Moreton advancing a new 
claim. A local paper 1 stated upon reliable authority 
that a sudden and unexpected claimant to the foreshore 
of the Cheshire side of the River Mersey and Dee and 
comprising the whole of the Birkenhead docks, was about 
to appear in the person of Samuel Holland Moreton, 
Esq., Lord of the Hundred of Wirral, who based his 
claim upon the Crown grant of 1820 (no doubt on the right 
to "wreck") and intended to assert his claims previous 
to the Dock Bills becoming law. The Bills eventually 
passed without any clause saving the rights of, or giving 
compensation to, Moreton, and therefore we can only sup- 
pose that he was unable, as was likely from the form 
of the grant, to substantiate his claim to the foreshore, 
which in this case was of enormous value. 

On September 3, 1855, one of the Wapentake 
Courts (which were then held quarterly) took place at 

1 Liverpool Chronicle, June 23, 1855. 


the Tranmere Hotel before Grace, the steward. 1 There 
were seventeen cases entered for trial by jury, and as 
this was one of the last Hundred Courts ever held, it 
is worth noting the nature of some of them. 

An action for damages for false imprisonment was 
brought by James M'Mahon of Liscard, schoolmaster, 
against Elliott Hodson, a Birkenhead police detective. 
Verdict for the defendant. An action by John Brown, 
cooper, of Birkenhead, against Joseph Sill, a Bebington 
farmer, was for i, 195. nd. the price of a new churn. 
(It will be observed that the claim was just under 405. 
in accordance with the ancient limit of the Court's juris- 
diction.) Another case was a claim for damages for 
trespass by a squatter, who had enclosed some vacant 
land at Tranmere, against the husband of a woman who 
had trampled on the seeds sown there. Grace, as judge 
and steward, held that the squatter, whether rightfully 
in possession or not, could maintain an action, but the 
jury returned a verdict for the defendant. Other cases 
included a claim for the price of a dog, and an action 
for damages against one of the staff of the highway 
surveyor for injuries received by falling over a heap of 
stones in Beech Road, Tranmere. 

1 Liverpool Mercury, Sept. 4, 1855. 


MO R ETON (continued) 

Embezzlement by Messrs. Brocklebank's cashier His arrest Injunction whilst 
in prison Conviction of Wilson Seizure of his house at Clatterbridge 
Moreton obtains all Wilson's property The Wirral Manor House The 
Court House Sale of the Manor House Moreton's dinners The Liverpool 
Chronicle A bailiff killed Mr. Christopher Bushell's horse Abolition 
of the Wapentake Court County Courts Act, 1856 Claims for compensa- 
tion Wreck Board of Trade inquiry Church of Holy Cross. 

ONE of Moreton's most successful exploits is worth re- 
cording in detail. 1 In 1856 Messrs. Thomas & Ralph 
Brocklebank were carrying on the business of merchants 
and shipowners which still exists in Liverpool as T. & J. 
Brocklebank. They had a cashier named Robert Wilson, 
a confidential clerk, entrusted by them with large sums 
**of money, who maintained a large private establishment 
on the Cheshire side of the Mersey. In February 1856 
Wilson absented himself from Messrs. Brocklebank's 
counting-house, and it was then discovered that a con- 
siderable quantity of money and securities had been 
taken away by him. A reward of ^200 was offered for 
his apprehension, and he was arrested in a few days in 

1 Mrs. Gamlin's account of this incident is very incorrect. The details above 
are taken from the Bills of Complaint in Brocklebank v. Wilson, and Moreton v. 
Brocklebank (1856), and the local papers. 



Low Hill, Liverpool. Money and securities to the 
amount of ^2900 were found upon him. He was 
charged with embezzlement, and committed to the assizes 
for trial. Besides the moneys he had carried off, Wilson 
for several years had misappropriated sums amounting in 
all to some ^"7000, with which, it was said, he had 
purchased lands and house property. These included 
twenty-nine acres of land and a partially built house at 
Thornton Hough in Wirral (subsequently called the 
Manor House or " Court House," Clatterbridge), held 
on lease from the Earl of Shrewsbury, some house 
property in Oxton, and in Wood Street, Birkenhead. 

Whilst in prison, Wilson threatened to take steps to 
dispose of these properties, and Messrs. Brocklebank 
applied to the Master of the Rolls and obtained an 
injunction restraining him from doing so. Wilson was 
tried at the Liverpool spring assizes before Baron 
Martin, and at first pleaded not guilty, but afterwards 
withdrew this plea. Baron Martin, in sentencing him, 
said that it was the very worst case of embezzlement 
he had ever known, and he must inflict the severest 
possible punishment, namely, transportation for fourteen 
years. So far as can be ascertained what followed was 
this. Moreton and Grace were quite alive to the 
mediaeval right conferred by the Crown grant of 1820 
on the Lord of the Hundred of Wirral to the goods 
and chattels of a felon ; and so soon as Wilson was 
convicted they hurried over the river to Thornton Hough 


and took possession 1 of Wilson's house. Wilson's wife 
and family were summarily turned out (a witness is alive 
who saw them deposited in the road), and the house 
was occupied by Moreton. 

At Messrs. Brocklebank's instance a receiver was 
appointed of all Wilson's property, and took possession 
of it, with the exception of the house at Clatterbridge, 
of which he could not get possession owing to the 
occupation of it by Moreton. He did not, however, 
attempt to disturb Moreton, but at the same time would 
not recognise his rights, and therefore, in 1859, Moreton 
commenced proceedings in Chancery against Messrs. 
Brocklebank, claiming that all Wilson's property vested 
in him as the property of a felon, but that he could 
not safely, or consistently with due respect for the Court, 
disturb the possession of the receiver, notwithstanding 
that it was founded on no rightful title. On the i2th 
July, 1860, four years after the seizure, the Master of 
the Rolls made a decree, declaring that, upon the convic- 
tion of Wilson for felony, the astonishing result followed 
that all his property vested in Moreton, except four 
houses in Wood Street, Birkenhead, which, apparently, 
Messrs. Brocklebank were able to earmark as having 
been bought with their money. Messrs. Brocklebank 
had to pay Moreton's costs. 

1 Mrs. Gamlin (copying from the Mayer pamphlet) inaccurately states that Wilson 
fled from justice, and that Grace took possession of the house as being the property 
of an outlaw or fugitive from justice. It was as the property of a convicted felon 
that it was seized. 


Moreton allowed Mrs. Wilson to re-occupy the house 
at Clatterbridge for a time, but subsequently Mrs. 
Moreton, and occasionally he himself, lived there until 
shortly before his death. He proceeded at once to erect 
a Court-house on the property, and spent considerable 
sums in completing it and also the house, which he 
grandiloquently named "The Wirral Manor House." 
The Court-house stands on the south side of the building, 
and can be seen from the Clatterbridge Road. It is a 
plainly built and lofty structure of red brick, some 75 
feet long. 1 The Court apparently sat on the first floor, 
as there are no windows in the lower part of the 
building, which is now used as a stable and barn. A 
precipitous flight of stone steps leads up into a small 
lobby on the first floor, from which doors open to the 
right and left. The door to the right has a window in 
the upper part and leads into a room where, no doubt, 
the Court sat. This room is some 35 feet long, and 20 
feet wide. It has three large windows on each side, 
and a fireplace at the end, which has been bricked up. 
The room to the left of the lobby was probably intended 
as a waiting-room. It is divided from the Court by a 
partition of panelled wood. This room, in addition to 
four windows at the sides, has two at the east end, 
which are partly filled with yellow glass. The inside walls 
of the Court are of imitation stone, and the building 
must have cost a considerable sum to erect. There 

1 See frontispiece. 


seems to be no date or inscription on any part of the 

Moreton died in possession of the Manor House, and 
some years afterwards (in May 1874), his representatives 
sold it with the sanction of the Court of Chancery. The 
conditions of sale referred to Wilson's conviction and 
the seizure by Moreton "as representing through inter- 
mediate assurances a grantee from the Crown of the 
goods of felons within the district." The property was 
purchased by one Alexander Kelly, and after passing 
through various hands, is now owned by Joseph Hoult, 
Esq., late M.P. for Wirral, whose residence is close by. 

After this Court-house was built, the Wapentake was 
once or twice held there by Grace, who, an eye-witness 1 
states, was often more or less intoxicated when presiding 
as judge. His decisions in this state naturally gave great 
dissatisfaction, and large crowds of incensed farmers and 
villagers gathered outside the Court to discuss their 
grievances, which were becoming a grave public scandal. 

A feature of the Court were the dinners given by 
Moreton when his affairs were flourishing. After the 
proceedings of the day were over, he was in the habit of 
summoning the jury and any other persons he happened 
to see, to dine with him. It is said that he went so far 
as fining for contempt of court those who declined to 
attend. An excellent dinner with plenty of wine was 
provided, but no drunkenness was allowed. Those who 

1 Capt. Beckett, whose wife was a niece of Mrs. Moreton. 


exceeded their capabilities were summoned the follow- 
ing day, and if not fined, were bound over to observe 
moderation at the next meeting, a promise which they 
were unable to redeem, being never invited again. 

It is said 1 that David Ross, the editor of the Liverpool 
Chronicle, was threatened with committal by Grace for 
writing a leader on the vagaries of the Hundred Court, 
and there are at any rate several references to it by that 
paper in by no means complimentary terms. In April 
1856, Greenaway Saunders, who was one of the bailiffs 
of the Wapentake Court, went to serve a summons for 
the sum of eightpence on Thomas Cross, a bootmaker in 
Birkenhead. Cross for some reason objected, and struck 
the bailiff over the head with a boot-tree, inflicting injuries 
from which he subsequently died. In commenting upon 
the case, the Chronicle* referred to the deceased as "an 
officer of one of those sinks of abomination a Wapentake 
Court nuisances which were rife a quarter of a century 
ago." A sentence of nine months' imprisonment on 
Cross was considered very severe by the townspeople of 
Birkenhead, who had suffered a good deal from the 
attentions of this bailiff. (Cross was, it may be re- 
marked, a curious character. He obtained much notoriety 
for selling his wife for 55. to go to America, and drew up 
a formal agreement for her sale. He fell down dead 
whilst engaged in a walking match to Chester.) 3 

1 By Mrs. Gamlin in " 'Twixt Mersey and Dee." 2 April 5, 1856. 

3 Birkenhead News, Sept. 8, 1906. 


A further sarcastic reference to the Court appears in 
May 1856, when the paper reports a rumour that the 
Birkenhead bellman had got up a memorial applying- for 
the situation of hangman to the Wirral Wapentake Court, 
a reference, doubtless, to the pretensions of the lord 
to authorities and jurisdictions which he did not possess. 

There is no doubt that, in spite of the efforts of some 
of the papers, many scandalous proceedings of the Court 
were never reported. The Court was a movable one, and 
could sit wherever the lord or his steward desired, so that 
in case of necessity a jury would be hastily impanelled 
by commandeering passers-by, and a travesty of justice 
administered on the spot. The newspaper reporter not 
being so ubiquitous as at the present day, the proceedings 
would only become known by hearsay, and the fear of 
contempt of court might very well prevent reference to 

Up to this time those who had attacked the Lord of the 
Hundred had got the worst of it, but an incident occurred 
about this period which eventually led to his downfall, 
although at first he seemed to have had the better 
of his antagonist. The late Mr. Christopher Bushell, 
J.P., a Liverpool merchant, about the year 1855 bought 
the Hinderton estate in Wirral, and erected the house 
known as " Hinderton Hall," now the property of Sir 
Percy E. Bates, Bart. Upon this estate there was a stone 
quarry by a footpath which runs from Raby to Willaston 
near the Water Tower. Exactly how Mr. Bushell incurred 


the displeasure of the Wapentake Court is not clear, but 
he seems to have closed up the entrance to his quarry or 
some road or footpath near it. Moreton objected to this 
either as an interference with a right-of-way or a right of 
taking stone from the quarry, and called upon Mr. Bushell 
to open up the gate. He declined to recognise the 
authority of the Court and was consequently summoned 
to appear before it. As he did not do so, he was fined. 
An application for payment met with no response, and 
Moreton therefore resolved upon a fatal step. He sent 
his bailiffs at night and seized out of a field a valuable 
cart horse belonging to Mr. Bushell. A notice was left 
behind on a post saying what had been done and the horse 
was sold at Chester Fair and, it is said, bought back by 
the owner. As it was feared further seizures would be 
made Mr. Bushell armed his men with pitchforks and 
bludgeons and set them to watch his stock at night, but 
probably Moreton began to realise the calibre of his 
antagonist as no more distresses were taken. According 
to some accounts of the episode, costly and prolonged 
litigation arose between Mr. Bushell and the Lord of the 
Hundred, but no record of it has been found. It is clear, 
however, that Mr. Bushell set himself to bring about the 
downfall of the Court, as the high-handed nature of its 
proceedings and abuse of power rendered its continuance 
quite unbearable. 

The end of the Wapentake drew near, and the agita- 
tions of the aggrieved inhabitants of Wirral were at last 


successful. Its demise was announced in the following 
newspaper article : l 

4 'Our readers will remember the sensation which was 
caused in Liverpool and Birkenhead a few months ago by 
the reopening of one of those abominations, a Wapentake 
Court, in the Hundred of Wirral, and the extraordinary 
freaks under the name of justice which were perpetrated 
on the other side of the water. Of course, it was not to 
be endured in the middle of the nineteenth century that 
these ludicrous follies should continue ; and accordingly 
a clause was introduced into an Act during the present 
session of Parliament which knocks this Wirral Wapentake 
Court as completely on the head as if it never had an 
existence, to the great delight of the Cheshire people, who 
stood in daily terror of the tremendous and irresponsible 
authority with which it was vested. The powers of this 
Court, like many similar Courts in various parts of the 
Kingdom, were supposed to fall into desuetude, because 
opposed to the spirit of the age, until they were revived 
in Cheshire by a purchase from the Lord of the Manor to 
the astonishment of every one. But although the Court 
and its officers, in its new form, can hardly be said to be 
more than a year or so old, the Bill provides that these 
worthies shall all have compensation given to them for the 
losses they will sustain by the extinction of the Court. 
By what legal machinery these losses are to be measured 
we have no means of knowing ; but the cost will be paid 

1 Liverpool Chronicle, July 26, 1856. 


out of the general funds of the country, and not, as many 
people have supposed, by a tax levied on the people of the 
Hundred of Wirral. Perhaps it is fortunate, under the cir- 
cumstances, that a Wapentake Court can be so quietly and 
readily abolished ; but we hope that the Lords of Manors 
elsewhere who have latent Wapentake Courts on their 
estates will be a little more cautious how they dispose of 
such enormous powers for a comparatively trifling" consider- 
ation. They ought to have some mercy on the public." 

The Act of Parliament referred to l came into operation 
on the 29th July 1856. As originally introduced, the Bill 
was simply one to amend the County Courts, which had 
then been established some ten years. In committee, how- 
ever, the influence of the representatives of the suffering 
inhabitants of Wirral, probably headed by Mr. Christopher 
Bushell, was sufficiently strong to get a clause inserted 
which gave a deathblow to the Wirral Wapentake. Their 
case must indeed have been a strong one, and it is worth 
noting as further evidence, if need be, of the scandalous 
misuse of this particular Court, that it was not until eleven 
years later that the jurisdiction of the other surviving 
Hundred Courts was curtailed. 2 

Section 77 of the Act of 1856 provided that "from and 

1 County Courts Acts Amendment Act, 1856. 

1 By the County Courts Act of 1867. The Hundred Courts of Offlow (Staffs.) and 
Hemlingford (Warwicks.) had been abolished in 1852 by similar provisions in the 
County Court Act of that year. An account of the latter Court is given in " The 
Hundreds of Warwickshire," by B. Walker, A. R.I. B. A., vol. xxxi., Trans, of Birming- 
ham Archaeological Society. 


after the passing of this Act no action or suit shall be 
commenced in the Hundred or Wapentake Court of Wirral, 
in the county of Chester, and the authority and jurisdiction 
of the said Court shall cease." All pending actions and 
suits were transferred to the County Court. Every person 
who was legally entitled to any franchise or office in the 
Court was to be entitled to make a claim for compensa- 
tion on the Treasury within six months after the passing 
of the Act, and the Commissioners were to inquire what 
was the nature of the office, and what were its fees and 
emoluments, and to award such gross or yearly sum as 
they thought fit for loss of office. 

In due course claims for compensation were lodged 
with the Treasury by Moreton as lord, by Grace as 
steward, and by Whittaker Edmondson as reeve and 
bailiff. Accounts were submitted by the steward for 
the seven quarters from October 1854 to the end of 
July 1856, which showed the gross receipts of the Court 
for that period to have been ^360, 6s. 6d., i.e. about 
^200 a year, which is a surprisingly small figure con- 
sidering the largeness of some of the fines said to have 
been inflicted. The majority, however, of them did not 
exceed a few shillings, and, as already shown, some of 
them did not always come into the hands of the Court 
in the shape of cash. But doubtless the figures supplied 
to the Treasury were as high as could be given. They 
dispose of the current idea that Moreton and Grace made 
a considerable fortune out of the Court. 


Edmondson, the reeve, stated that his fees for the 
same period amounted to ^44, 2S. 

The following sums were awarded as compensation : l 

To Moreton . . . . . 250 

To Grace ..... 300 
To Edmondson .... 60 

The Hundred Court was now gone, but there still 
remained vested in Moreton, for what they were worth, 
the quasi-manorial and other rights conferred by the 
Crown grant of 1820. These were quite unaffected by 
the Act of 1856, which did not purport to revoke the 
grant. Moreton still continued to describe himself as 
"Lord of the Hundred of Wirral." Grace also appears 
in 1857 i the Law List and directories as " Steward 
of Wirral," and from 1858 to 1860 as "High Steward 
of Wirral Hundred." Whether there was any substantial 
value in what was left to them is more than doubtful, 
but efforts were occasionally made to keep the rights 
alive. On one occasion a diamond ring was found on 
the beach on the Dee side of Wirral. Moreton promptly 
claimed it, presumably as wreck as it would not consti- 
tute "treasure trove," and succeeded in establishing his 
claim, or at any rate defeating that of any one else. 2 

Very early in his career Moreton had advanced his 
claim to "wreck," and sent notice of it to the Lord of 
the Manor of Eastham and Hooton, and probably to 

1 Information of the Treasury. 2 Information of Captain Beckett. 


others, threatening to take action if they laid hands on 
any wreck thrown up within the limits of their manors. 
It seems very likely that his claim was disputed by 
them, and it will be remembered that " wreck" had 
never formed part of the rights of the Crown lessees of 
the Hundred, but had somehow slipped into the deed of 
1820 to John Williams on the occasion of his purchase. 
The right to it might have been tested in the case of a 
schooner which had been in collision in the Mersey, 
and, after being abandoned, had grounded on Tranmere 
beach. Moreton claimed the ship, but when he found 
there was no cargo, the vessel being in ballast and 
badly damaged, he did not pursue the matter further. 

In 1857 an inquiry was held at Liverpool by James 
O'Dowd, solicitor to her Majesty's Customs, into the 
claims of Lords of the Manor and others to "unclaimed 
wreck" under the Merchant Shipping Act of 1854. This 
Act contained new provisions regulating the seizure and 
sale of unclaimed wreck on the coasts, and provided 
for notice being given to the Receiver of Wreck by any 
Lord of the Manor or other person who set up a claim 
to it. The inquiry was held for the purpose of adjudi- 
cating upon the claims which had been received in 
respect of the coasts of the Mersey and Dee. It lasted 
for several weeks and much interesting information was 
given as to the manorial titles in the district. 1 Among the 
claims put forward was that of Mr. J. Baskervyle Glegg 

1 Liverpool Daily Post, May 25, 1857, and Liverpool Courier, May 27, 1857. 


of Gayton in respect of the Hundred of Caldy, 1 and 
documentary evidence was put forward, showing un- 
interrupted enjoyment there of the right to wreck from 
early times down to the date of the inquiry. Moreton, 
however, put in a claim (based upon the Crown grant 
of 1820) to all unclaimed wreck found on the shores of 
the Hundred of Wirral and throughout the extent of 
the maritime limits of that Hundred. He was repre- 
sented at the inquiry by Grace, who produced the Crown 
grant of 1820, and the deeds subsequent thereto by 
which the Hundred devolved upon Moreton. 

When dealing with Moreton's claim, Mr. O'Dowd 
expressed considerable surprise at what he termed his 
very startling and extensive pretensions, more especially 
seeing that the amount of the purchase money paid 
by John Williams (whose interest Moreton represented) 
amounted only to the small sum of ,230, and that 
Moreton had himself purchased the whole of the rights 
for the still smaller sum of .99, 195. Mr. O'Dowd 
pointed out that the Hundred of Wirral by the latest 
surveys comprised upwards of 60,000 acres of land, in 
ancient times comparatively valueless, but then of a 
value impossible to be appreciated, over all of which 
Moreton claimed lordship. The commissioner said that 
Moreton based his claim on the very comprehensive lan- 
guage of the grant, but although this gave Williams 

1 This Hundred within a Hundred had its own Court, and must not be con- 
fused with the Manor of Caldy, which was quite distinct. 


all that was meant by "the Hundred of Wirral," there 
were qualifying and restrictive words in the deed which 
indicated (to Mr. O'Dowd) that but a small portion of 
the Hundred was intended to pass to the purchaser. 
The words referred to were : "Which said Hundred and 
premises are portions of the possessions of the Land 
Revenues of the Crown . . . and were last demised . . . 
by letters patent . . . bearing date the 8th day of April 
1786 to John Glegg of Neston . . . for a reversionary 
term of 27 years." Mr. O'Dowd complained that the 
lease to Glegg had not been produced, nor had Moreton 
been able to satisfy him what were the particulars and 
conditions of the sales of Crown lands at the time 
of Williams' purchase. Under the circumstances Mr. 
O'Dowd intimated that before reporting to the Board 
of Trade he would have to obtain information from the 
Office of Woods and Forests as to the terms of the 
lease and also the precise lot of which Williams became 
the purchaser. On another part of the case Mr. O'Dowd 
felt considerable difficulty. On reference to the Act of 
George III. it appeared that the power to sell Crown 
lands, hereditaments, and revenues, although embracing 
several royalties, did not specify "wreck." Mr. O'Dowd 
could not agree that a power to sell "hereditaments" 
was sufficiently comprehensive to include "wreck," be- 
cause, in his view, the Crown was entitled to wreck 
by force of its prerogative and not in the way of 
inheritance. Whilst feeling doubts and difficulties as to 


the excessive exercise by the Commissioners of Woods 
and Forests of the powers of the Act, Mr. O'Dowd 
intimated that he could not think of reporting against 
a claim which rested upon a sale made by the Com- 
missioners without further inquiries. He decided there- 
fore to make a special report to the Board of Trade 
and obtain their decision whether, having regard to 
the wording of the statute, the terms of the Crown 
grant, and an alleged acquiescence of the Crown in the 
exercise of Moreton's rights, his claim to wreck might 
not be admitted in respect, not of the Hundred of Wirral, 
but of the particular part of it of which he was the bond 
fide and absolute owner under the deed of 1820. 

This decision, if it may be so called, does not seem to 
be very satisfactory or very clear, and shows the commis- 
sioner did not appreciate what the franchise of a Hundred 
was. He seems to have thought that a grant of the 
Hundred of Wirral could not possibly include rights over 
the whole land of Wirral ; but there is no doubt that it 
did, though, as we have seen, it did not carry the owner- 
ship of the soil. As we know, the Crown lessees did not 
possess the right to wreck, but if they had, it seems clear 
that they, and all subsequent owners of the Hundred, 
would have been entitled to wreck throughout the whole 
coasts of Wirral. 

Mr. O'Dowd's report to the Board of Trade was con- 
fidential, but he would no doubt ascertain from the Com- 
missioners of Woods and Forests that the Crown lessees 


never had the right to wreck. The result of his own 
inquiry proved that the right to unclaimed wrecks on the 
coasts of Wirral was held by various persons, who all 
showed a lengthy manorial title. This of itself would be 
almost sufficient to prove that at the time of the Crown 
grant of 1820 the right to wreck was not in the Crown, 
and that in selling it they were disposing of something 
they had not got. Presumably Mr. O'Dowd reported 
against Moreton's claim ; at any rate the Board of Trade 
refused to admit it, and his name does not appear in the 
records of the Receiver of Wreck at Liverpool or Chester 
amongst the list of Lords of Manors entitled to unclaimed 
wreck. 1 

After this date to his death, the only feature in More- 
ton's career worth noting is that he was persuaded to 
interest himself in church matters, and eventually contri- 
buted some ^2000 towards the erection, about 1860, of 
the Church of the Holy Cross in Great Crosshall Street, 
Liverpool, the architect being the younger Pugin. 

1 The names and districts of those whose claims were subsequently admitted 
are : Richard Erring-ton : Ness, and Puddington (from Burton to Little Neston and 
from Shotwick to Burton) ; W. W. Congreve : Burton (between Ness and Pudding- 
ton) ; James Houghton : Great Neston (Little Neston to Leighton) ; John Baskervyle 
Glegg (in respect of the Hundred of Caldy) : from Leighton-on-Dee to Seacombe 
(except the Manors of Caldy, Wallasey, and Liscard) ; Richard Barton : the Manor 
of Caldy (from the south boundary of West Kirby to the north boundary of Thurs- 
taston) ; the devisees of Richard Smith : Poulton-cum-Seacombe (from Birkenhead 
Dock on the south to Egremont Ferry on the north) ; Major Orred : the Manor of 
Tranmere (from Birkenhead to Rock Ferry) ; C. K. Mainwaring : the Manor of Brom- 
borough ; R. C. Naylor : the Manor of Hooton and Eastham (from Bromborough 
Pool to Poole) ; Marquis of Westminster : the Manor of Whitby and Overpool. 
" Custom House Records" at Liverpool, Chester, and Connah's Quay. 1860 & 1861. 



Death of Moreton Newspaper articles The making of his will Bequest to 
Roman Catholic Bishop of Liverpool of all his property Validity questioned 
by widow Dr. Goss and the Hundred of Wirral Widow lodges a caveat 
Notice to tenants Pressure on widow to compromise Moreton's ghost 
Withdrawal of widow's opposition Supposed heir-at-law intervenes Trial 
Will set aside Death of Dr. Goss Litigation among rival claimants James 
Moreton, heir-at-law Sale of Hundred of Wirral to Leather Moreton gets it 
back His death. 

MORETON died on March 24, 1869, at his house in William 
Brown Street, Liverpool, aged seventy-five, and was buried 
in the Catholic Chapel at Neston. The circumstances of 
his death and the making of his will were very extraordi- 
nary, and no account of the Lordship of Wirral would be 
complete without full reference to them, as the destination 
of the rights of the lord was now for several years in dis- 
pute. A local paper was at this time devoting much 
attention to the growing influence of Roman Catholicism, 
and a series of able and at times amusing articles at 
once appeared dealing with the Moreton will case. The 
first 1 bore the sensational title " Priestly Will-making 
in Liverpool; Bishop Goss Heir to ,30,000," and 
proceeded as follows : 

"The power which the Church of Rome exercises, by 

1 Liverpool Courier, April 9, 1869. 


frequently wringing from her members, while on their 
deathbeds, immense bestowals of conscience money, is 
still notorious. We have had the practice exemplified of 
late years in numerous cases from the sister island, where, 
if Protestant ascendency has hitherto been official, Romish 
ascendency has been more actual. But we may be per- 
mitted to doubt whether any of those multiplied instances 
exceed in flagrancy a case of the kind which has just tran- 
spired in Liverpool. The most extraordinary rumours 
have been prevalent in the neighbourhood of Islington- 
flags as to the circumstances under which the late Mr. 
Samuel Holland Moreton, solicitor, of this town, died and 
made a will or, rather, as rumour puts it, had a will made 
for him, in which the whole of his extensive property 
goes to the Church of Rome, in the person of her chief 
representative here, the Right Rev. Dr. Goss, the titular 
Bishop of Liverpool. The late Mr. Moreton ... in the 
course of his professional practice, acquired, in some 
occult manner, the Lordship of the manor in the Hundred 
of Wirral, and the rights of court-leet and wapentake con- 
nected with it. It has been stated that the person from 
whom he obtained the Lordship had succeeded to it by 
descent, but, having fallen into bad circumstances, and 
being unaware, through desuetude, of the privileges and 
emoluments still appertaining to the Lordship, he was 
induced to convey it to Mr. Moreton, though the 'con- 
sideration ' has never transpired, and it has been said that 
the smallest coin in the realm will probably represent 


it. 1 The original Lord, at any rate, benefited very little 
by the transaction, for he is, or was comparatively lately, 
working as a lumper at the Liverpool Docks. 2 When Mr. 
Moreton had got the Lordship fully transferred to him, he 
resuscitated it with a vigour which astonished the public, 
who were under the impression that it had been done away 
with, or was at the most an utterly effete institution. The 
ancient glories of the wapentake were sought to be revived 
in a curious fashion. Reeves or bailiffs were appointed, 
* ale-tasters ' were sworn in, and juries empanelled to 
attend the court-leet and view of frank pledge. The 
sittings were usually held at the Tranmere Castle Hotel, 
where small debts of the most trumpery character were 
tried in a fashion that rendered the tribunal a complete 
farce, though it was no joke for any unfortunate suitor 
who happened to be cast in damages, for the court, it 
turned out, had real functions, and amerced sundry 
persons in very grievous pains and penalties. The Lord 
of the Wapentake took cognisance of other and more 
serious matters than small debts. He dealt with sundry 
owners of property in a very high-handed fashion, and 
there was a famous collision with Mr. Christopher Bushell, 
of Neston, . . . which eventually resulted in the abolition, 
by Act of Parliament, of the Wirral Wapentake, though 
many of the rights of Lordship remained untouched. . . . 
The most audacious thing ever done in connection with 

1 It was stated in the deed to have been .99, 193., as we have seen, page 107, ante. 
* No doubt this refers to Spencer. 


the Lordship, however, was the seizure of the property, 
which, of late years, constituted the manor-house, at the 
village of Thornton Hough, half-way between Lower 
Bebington and Neston. . . . Everything thus obtained 
was kept, and is part of the ' prize ' which has fallen to 
the Church of Rome, or perhaps it would be more correct 
to say, has been snatched from a deathbed by some of her 
zealous ecclesiastics. Mr. Moreton being of very saving 
habits acquired a great deal of other property in various 
modes, and at the time of his decease owned property in 
Brunswick Road, Liverpool as to the sanitary condition 
of which he was in frequent litigation with the Health 
Committee worth ^600 or ^700 a year ; property in 
Warwick Street, Liverpool ; and a warehouse, cottages, 
brewhouse, public-house, and other tenements in Mill Lane 
and at the back of Islington-flags. Attached to his pro- 
perty he built premises which faced William Brown Street, 
immediately above the waste ground on the east side of 
the Free Library, and sought in vain to obtain a spirit 
licence from the borough magistrates. Failing in this, 
he opened it under a beer and wine licence, and generally 
lived there during the week, going home to the manor- 
house at Thornton Hough on Saturday afternoon, to 
remain until Monday, The Islington property being re- 
quired by the Corporation for street improvements, Mr. 
Moreton made what was considered a very enormous de- 
mand for compensation for giving it up. The matter went 
to arbitration some months ago, and an award was made 


fixing the value at ^3300, which so utterly failed to 
meet Mr. Moreton's great expectations, that he used to 
threaten, in his foolish, eccentric sort of way, which 
really meant nothing except great anger that he would 
shoot the Town Clerk, Mr. Joseph Rayner, for the share 
he believed him to have had in defeating his exorbitant 

"We now come to the period immediately preceding 
Mr. Moreton's death, when circumstances are said to 
have occurred, which, if they are at all borne out by the 
facts, are simply scandalous. At the same time we must 
warn our readers that, from the very peculiar nature of 
the whole transaction, it is exceeding hard to get at the 
exact circumstances, and it is therefore very possible that 
when the matter comes to be sifted in a court of law if 
it should ever reach that stage, as to which considerable 
doubt may be entertained many of the present allegations 
will have to be considerably modified. These allegations, 
put into definite shape from the various rumours afloat, 
make up a story which is to the following effect. 

"For about two months prior to his decease, Mr. 
Moreton had been suffering from bronchitis, and was 
usually attended by Dr. Stopford Taylor of Springfield. 
On the evening of Monday the 22nd of March, he was 
apparently rather better, and in accordance with a favourite 
habit, he had one or two friends and neighbours with him 
at the house in Islington, enjoying some games at whist. 
The old gentleman displayed considerable mental and 


bodily weakness as the evening progressed, and after his 
friends left he became, during the night, much worse. 
There were besides himself two women servants in the 
house, Mrs. Moreton being at that time also unwell at 
the manor-house at Thornton Hough. Next morning, 
Tuesday, the 23rd, his medical attendant was sent for, 
and he arrived at the house at about half-past ten o'clock. 
Mr. Moreton then appeared to be insensible. The medical 
man was seen to shake him and call him, but he remained 
perfectly undemonstrative under this active treatment. 
It would appear that his disease had made such progress 
that, owing to its peculiar action on the blood and the 
brain, he must have been partially asphyxiated and quite 
incapable of exercising the ordinary functions of the brain. 
After the medical man left, the Very Rev. Canon Fisher, 
a well-known Roman Catholic dignitary, with whom 
Mr. Moreton had been in frequent communication, was 
sent for. Upon his arrival he found the old man in 
extremis. Leaving him, the canon went to the office of a 
local solicitor, and taking from there a boy or young man, 
returned to the residence of Mr. Moreton. Taking this 
youth and one of the servant girls into the bedroom, the 
rev. gentleman produced a form of will already drawn 
out, raised Mr. Moreton up in the bed, put on his 
spectacles, placed a pen in his hand, and, without reading 
the will over to him, got hold of his hand and guided 
the fingers of the dying and insensible man to form his 
signature at the foot of the will, which was completed by 


the solicitor's clerk and the servant girl being constituted 
witnesses of the assisted signature. 1 By this will the 
whole of Mr. Moreton's property some of which he had 
obtained through his marriage and the total value of 
which is said to be little short of ,25,000 or ,30,000 is 
bequeathed to the Right Rev. Alexander Goss, Bishop of 
Liverpool, for the benefit of religion as taught by the 
Roman Catholic Church. Not a penny's worth was left 
to Mrs. Moreton, not a penny's worth to any of the 
nephews and nieces of her husband or herself there are 
no children. This pious work accomplished, another 
pious work followed, and extreme unction was ad- 
ministered to the penitent. Being now cared for, body 
and soul, his ecclesiastical friends had no further need for 
him. The medical man saw him again about nine o'clock 
that night in the presence of other persons, and the same 
treatment as that pursued in the morning was repeated, 
this time it would appear with a little better success. 
After being shaken and shouted to, the poor old fragment 
of mortality muttered something about being better, but 
nothing more could be got from him ; he relapsed into 
unconsciousness, and towards morning of the 24th he 
died, his death being duly chronicled in the obituary 
of a contemporary on the 25th of March. In due time 
the widow came to make inquiry into the disposition of 
his property ; and then she learnt how utterly bereft she 

1 There was in fact no solicitor's clerk present, the attesting witnesses being 
Canon Fisher and the servant girl. 


was by that final event which had taken place in her 
absence. Notice has since been sent to the officials of 
the Corporation on behalf of Bishop Goss that he is sole 
legatee, and in that capacity will be prepared to transfer 
the property in Islington to the Corporation on payment 
of the award of ^3300. The widow, it is said, has 
placed her affairs in the hands of Dr. Commins, a well- 
known and able barrister of this town, and it is under- 
stood that she demands a settlement of ^500 or ^600 a 
year for her life, threatening, unless this be conceded, to 
contest the validity of the will. No doubt with that 
worldly wisdom which generally distinguishes Roman 
Catholic policy, some quiet arrangement will be made, 
and the affair, if possible, hushed up ; for Bishop Goss 
would make a very awkward appearance in a court of law 
as defendant in such a claim, even supposing there was 
a chance of his establishing the validity of a will executed 
by an incompetent testator. 

" Having given one side of this singular story, it is only 
right to add that there are said to be what may be termed 
mitigating circumstances. The father of Mr. Samuel 
Holland Moreton was a nominal Protestant, his mother 
a zealous Roman Catholic. He himself professed to be 
a member of the same Church, though he had not given 
much attention to its services or ministrations. In fact, 
he could hardly be called a pious son of the Church, for 
true piety would not resort to such a complete abnegation 
of natural ties and the just claims of kindred, even for 


the benefit of 'religion.' But the disposition of his pro- 
perty, however improperly or suspiciously brought about, 
may have been consistent with his intentions. It is said 
that he was frequently urged, in the interests of his wife, 
to make a settlement of his affairs, but he always put the 
matter off, though he frequently observed in conversation 
with his friends that he would leave the bulk of the 
property to ' the Church ' meaning the Roman Catholic 
Church and would provide his widow with ^400 or 
,500 a year. In case Bishop Goss succeeds in sustaining 
his heirship to the property, and to the Lordship of the 
Hundred of Wirral, the question arises, ' What will he 
do with it?' The days of clerical judgeships in Eng- 
land are, we presume, past ; otherwise, should Dr. Goss 
be entitled to exercise the unfamiliar but presumably 
tremendous powers of his Lordship, we might anticipate 
that one of the first and most welcome of his judicial acts 
would be to harry and oppress arch-heretics like ourselves 
should we ever come within his clutches for the un- 
pardonable sin of showing the public how ' the Church 
of Rome still endeavours to enrich herself out of death- 
bed penitents.' ' 

The widow at once took the preliminary steps to con- 
test this extraordinary will by lodging a " caveat" in the 
Probate Court. Meanwhile, however, the clerical execu- 
tor took possession of Moreton's estate and issued the 
following notice to the tenants : * 

1 Birkenhead Advertiser, Mays, 1869. 


"I hereby authorise and request you to pay the rent 
now due and hereafter to become due from you in respect 
of the premises in your occupation to Charles Strawsen as 
my agent : and I undertake to refund the same to you in 
the event of the will of Mr. Moreton being declared 


"(sd) ALEXANDER Goss, D.D., 
" Executor to the late Samuel Holland Moreton." 

Suggestions of a compromise between the widow and 
the bishop, by the latter allowing her a comfortable pro- 
vision for life on her opposition to the will being with- 
drawn, produced a hostile article in a local newspaper 
in these terms : 1 

11 No doubt the bishop would be glad to come to some 
such arrangement of an awkward business, and we may 
well believe that he would be ready to avail himself of 
any friendly persuasion which would be likely to have 
the desired effect upon the widow. But there is a story 
current as to the kind of influence which is being brought 
to bear in the matter which is so ludicrous that we only 
give it in order to show what singular lengths some people 
will go in superstitious belief. ... It appears that 
Mrs. Moreton, pending law proceedings, still resides at 
the Manor House. . . . She is accompanied by two 
women servants, devout Roman Catholics, one of whom 
used to be servant to the Rev. Father Fleetwood, who 
was the Roman Catholic chaplain to the Liverpool Work- 

1 Liverpool Courier, June 16, 1869. 


house and died of fever in the discharge of his duties. 
One of these women is, it appears, a see-er of visions and 
a dreamer of dreams, and the story goes that she has on 
several occasions recently seen the ghost of the deceased 
Mr. Moreton walk up and down the house and evidently 
* onaisy in his mind,' like the pig that sees the wind in 
the song of 'The Whistling Thief.' One day last week 
at the early hour of six A.M. . . . she came upon the 
spectre of the departed Lord of the Wirral Wapentake 
standing under a favourite apple tree in the orchard and 
wiping his forehead in an agony of perspiration the infer- 
ence being that his spirit was troubled about the proceed- 
ings of his relict in the matter of his disputed will. The 
woman was so frightened that she ran off and told the 
village constable. Whether the rural police have succeeded 
in effectually laying the ghost we have not heard, but we 
should strongly advise them not to interfere, because there 
are delicate questions of purgatory which might get sadly 
mixed up if their interference proved successful. The 
whole story has created an immense sensation amongst the 
Cheshire rustics, some of whom shrewdly shake their heads 
and say that the whole thing is intended to frighten Mrs. 
Moreton into compliance with the wishes of the dignitaries 
of the Church to which her deceased husband belonged." 

The proceedings soon reached another development, 
related as follows : 

" When we last noticed the affair, very great pressure of 


a peculiar kind was being brought to bear upon the widow 
with the view of inducing her to give up her opposition to 
the righteous document which has left her penniless in 
old age, after acting the part of a faithful wife to her 
husband during the long period they were united. The 
course adopted was quite in accordance with the principle 
of spiritual terrorism which is part of the ecclesiastical 
system of the Church of Rome, and that the superstitious 
probably its devotees would say the miraculous char- 
acter of the priestly influence might be duly sustained, a 
ghost is still being utilised, we are given to understand, 
with considerable success. Mrs. Moreton, in fact, is 
surrounded by creatures whose office is to secure that the 
golden prize of her late husband's wealth shall not elude 
the Church's grasp. Her nurses or attendants are 
obedient daughters of Romanism, and one of them is 
gifted with a special power she can see visions, and 
doubtless dream dreams. This is the person who has on 
several occasions encountered the spirit of the deceased 
Mr. Moreton wandering about the orchard of the Manor 
House at untimely hours of the morning untimely that 
is, as far as ghosts are concerned, for one A.M. is the 
generally prescribed time and this dilatory spirit (Mr. 
Moreton, we believe, was generally a late getter up) is 
always five or six hours behindhand. The ghost is usually 
in an unhappy frame of mind on one occasion the spec- 
tator saw it wipe an agony of perspiration from its brow 
on a silk pocket-handkerchief ; and this, by the way, 


is the first well-authenticated instance of a disembodied 
spirit carrying such a useful article. The ghost of 
Hamlet's father, with which we have hitherto been best 
acquainted, is distinguished by a helmet, a plume, a deep 
bass voice, and a painful habit of saying ' Swear ' ; but 
Mr. Moreton's ghost, with whom in time the public may 
hope to become on intimate terms, will henceforth be 
distinguished by its silk pocket-handkerchief. How it 
has come to escape from the limbo of purgatory we are 
not authentically informed, and as this is very delicate 
ground we forbear to inquire further. But the inference 
is clear, that the ghost has something on its mind ; and as 
the deceased purchased everlasting peace by making Dr. 
Goss his heir, the conclusion is natural, that the discom- 
fort arises from the results of the heirship being hitherto 
interfered with by the widow's contumacy in disputing 
the will. When the ghost was visible on the occasion 
more particularly referred to, the sympathetic sightseer 
rushed to seek the aid of the village constable ; but the 
rural police having failed, as we felt convinced they 
would fail, in putting down the ghost, the servant woman 
next resorted to the parish priest at Neston, a mile 
or two off. This pious and venerable gentleman, it is 
understood, was much shocked upon the first disclosure 
of the widow's disinheritance in favour of Dr. Goss, 
and very freely expressed his opinion that Mrs. Moreton 
had been hardly used in the matter. But time works 
wonders, even in the conviction of a well-seasoned Roman 


Catholic priest, and a singular change of policy on the 
part of the reverend gentleman has led to the latest 
development in this celebrated will-making case. It is 
stated that at several interviews with Mrs. Moreton lately, 
sought by the lady with the view of arranging for the 
saying of masses for the soul of the dead, the Neston 
priest has played the part of a Job's comforter ; that he 
has pointed out that her husband was well, not a first- 
class saint, though perhaps a very clever lawyer, and 
that his property having been acquired by crooked ways, 
he can never by any possibility get through purgatory 
and present himself, duly whitewashed, before St. Peter, 
unless atonement is made by devoting the property to 
holy uses in other words, letting 'the Church,' in the 
person of Dr. Goss, take all. At the same time he 
assured her that the Church authorities were not un- 
mindful of her claims, and he read to her two letters 
purporting to come from Dr. Goss, or to be written with 
his authority, offering to provide her with 200 a year 
during the rest of her life, to leave her in undisturbed 
possession of the Manor House at Thornton Hough, 
and of the furniture there and at the house in William 
Brown Street, Liverpool, where Mr. Moreton died, be- 
sides paying the ground rent, about ^50 a year, for 
the house and land at Thornton Hough. What other 
arguments in the way of applying what may be termed 
the power of the spiritual screw were used, or what 
threats of anathema maranatha at the latter end were 


held out, is not stated, but a devout daughter of the 
Church, verging on threescore and ten, and almost 
entirely dependent on the Church's 'generosity' in life 
as well as in death, would be almost more than mortal 
to resist the influences which can be brought to bear 
on such an occasion, and we are not surprised at the 
result. The letters were not entrusted to the widow, 
not even copies allowed, so wily are these priestly will- 
managers, as in that case the friends of Mrs. Moreton 
would have something tangible to lay hold of, but a 
paper in legal form was put before the old lady, and 
she was induced to sign it. Whether she knew its full 
import or not may be surmised ; but in fact it was this 
a notice to her solicitor, who had hitherto acted in her 
behalf, to stay proceedings and withdraw the caveat 
against the will. The lawyer, we believe, is not inclined 
to let his client's interest be sacrificed, and he declines 
to stay proceedings until some legal guarantee is given 
by Bishop Goss for the payment of a due provision to 
the widow, in case the caveat is withdrawn. Most prob- 
ably some such guarantee will be given and accepted. 
A single member of the Church placed in the peculiar 
position of Mrs. Moreton can hardly be expected to 
fight, single-handed, successfully, the whole spiritual 
power of the Church, and so far as Mrs. Moreton and 
Dr. Goss are concerned the affair is likely to end in 
such a compromise as we have indicated. What the 
Government may do in the matter, or whether the law 


officers of the Crown may feel inclined to withdraw the 
claim they have set up, is another thing." l 

Following upon this an official statement was pub- 
lished 2 that the widow had withdrawn her opposition to 
the will for ^"200 per annum and the use of the Wirral 
Manor House rent free for life, this arrangement being con- 
tingent upon the bishop being able to prove the will. In 
announcing this settlement it was remarked "there the 
matter stands at present, unless the heir-at-law, who is sup- 
posed to be in Australia, turns up and sets aside the will." 
This was the only cloud to mar the felicity of the settle- 
ment from the bishop's point of view, and unfortunately it 
burst over his head. Grace, whose claims to recognition 
in Moreton's will were ignored, had felt aggrieved and set 
about to discover an heir-at-law. Some one in America 
named Hill (apparently no relation at all !) was unearthed, 
and intervened just in time to prevent the will being proved 
without opposition. Another complication had also been 
introduced by the intervention of the Crown, in the name 
of the Duchy of Lancaster, claiming the freehold and part 
of the personal estate of the deceased as an intestate and 
without kin. 

In the meantime the tenants on the estate did not know 
which way to turn. Notices and counter notices were 
served by the bishop, the widow, and the so-called heir, 

1 Liverpool Courier, July 3. 1869. 

2 Liverpool Courier, July 9, 1869. 


each claiming payment of the rents. A complete stranger 
named Bell also joined in and demanded the rents ; and 
when the tenants, not unnaturally under the circumstances, 
declined to pay any one, he levied a distress and removed 
furniture, to which he had no shadow of title, to a ware- 
house. The sequel was a summons in the law courts and 
an order upon the unfortunate warehouseman to give up 
the goods at once and pay the costs. 1 

The Moreton will case, which by this time was a cause 
cefebre, came before Lord Penzance in June 1870. It 
lasted the better part of six days. 2 An array of distin- 
guished counsel was engaged. Sir John Karslake and 
11 Mr." Charles Russell appeared for the bishop ; the Soli- 
citor-General (Sir John D. Coleridge), Mr. West, Q.C., 
and Mr. Inderwick for the Duchy ; and Dr. Deane, 
Q.C., and Dr. Swabey for the heir-at-law. 

Much hard swearing occurred, but the facts turned 
out to be practically identical with those related in 
the newspaper article already quoted. 

Canon Fisher, D. D., gave evidence that he prepared the 
will on Moreton's instructions, using a copy of "Jarman 
on Wills," which apparently formed part of his theological 
library ; that he suggested the employment of a solicitor, 
but Moreton declined to have anything more to do with 
lawyers, saying they were "the scrapings of hell." He 
denied that Moreton was moribund at the time, or that he 

1 Liverpool Courier, Dec. 30, 1869. 

* Fully reported in the Liverpool Courier of 4th, 6th, i6th, lyth, i8th, and 
22nd June 1870. 


held the deceased's hand. The other attesting witness, 
Ellen Chatterton, a servant, denied that she had told 
several people that Canon Fisher guided Moreton's hand, 
and now asserted that the deceased fully understood what 
he was doing. Severe comments were made by counsel 
and the Judge upon the fact, stated by Canon Fisher, that 
it was understood between him and the dying man that, 
although the widow was not to be mentioned in the will, 
the bishop was to allow her ^200 a year, whereas in fact 
he did not agree to do so until she disputed the will and 
became a dangerous opponent. 

It was proved that the signature to the will was totally 
unlike that of the dead man, and that though a lawyer he 
had signed in the wrong place. This, coupled with the 
contradictions of the witnesses and the evidence of Dr. 
Stopford Taylor, the deceased's medical attendant, was so 
conclusive that Lord Penzance had no hesitation in saying 
that Moreton at the time was incapable of making a will, 
and that the one set up was invalid. 

Great but unsuccessful efforts 1 were made to free Dr. 
Goss from paying the enormous costs of the litigation, 
upon the grounds that he was abroad at the time the will 
was made and took no real part in the matter. He died 
suddenly in October 1872, and there is reason to suppose 
his death was accelerated by the odium which he had to 
suffer through his connection with the case, although there 
is no evidence that he was in any way a party to Canon 

1 Goss v. Hill and others, 40 L. J. P. 39 ; 25 L. T. 133. 


Fisher's proceedings. 1 Mrs. Moreton was left practically 
penniless, as of course the annuity promised by the bishop 
if successful never became payable. 

Upon the declaration of intestacy prolonged litigation 
at once ensued between many rival claimants to Moreton's 
property, which was variously estimated but seems origin- 
ally to have been worth some ^20,000. It consisted of 
freehold and leasehold estates which, according to the law 
of intestacy, went to the heir-at-law and the next-of-kin 
respectively. As regards the leasehold property, our only 
interest is in the Manor House, the sale of which, in 1874, 
has been already mentioned. The widow was appointed 
administratrix in 1871, but died in February 1873 ; and after 
further legal proceedings administration of the personal 
estate of Moreton was granted to Elizabeth Alcock, a 
distant cousin, by whom the leasehold property was sold 
for the benefit of the next-of-kin. 

Finding the heir-at-law (to whom the Lordship of 
Wirral would pass) was a more difficult matter, and in the 
double process practically the whole estate was dissipated. 
An inquiry was held at Liverpool to ascertain the heir, and 
as Moreton's birth certificate could not then be found, it 
was assumed that he was illegitimate, whereupon the 
Duchy of Lancaster took possession of all the freehold 
property, including the Hundred franchise, as having 
escheated to the Crown. Inquiries were, however, still 

1 For account of Dr. Goss, see Diet. Nat. Biog. He wrote the introduction to 
" Crosby Records " (Chetham Soc.). 


prosecuted by speculative persons, with the result that a 
very distant connection, named James Moreton, was dis- 
covered. He was a wheelwright and very illiterate, and 
it was said that his claim was exploited with considerable 
advantage to others but practically none to himself. His 
advisers successfully brought an action l to recover the 
estates from the Crown, James Moreton was declared 
heir-at-law, and the deeds relating to the Lordship of 
Wirral, were, with the others, handed over by the Duchy. 

James Moreton was now Lord of the Hundred of 
Wirral and entitled to all that remained of Samuel 
Holland Moreton's estates. His friends, however, did 
not allow him to benefit very much by this, and he was 
kept out of the way in the Isle of Man and elsewhere, 
whilst his inheritance gradually disappeared. Upon his 
return he was forced to resume his occupation as a 
wheelwright at a weekly wage as there was no money 

There is a deed dated September i, i875, 2 under 
which he seems to have sold all his rights as Lord of 
the Hundred of Wirral to Joseph Leather, a veterinary 
surgeon in Liverpool. Leather's account of this trans- 
action was that Moreton wished to make him a present 
of the rights for services rendered, but that he insisted 
on paying 20 for them. In some prolonged litigation 
which ensued between them in connection with the 

1 Moreton v. A. G. of Duchy of Lanes. Judgment given, June 25, 1872. 
z In the possession of F. E. Roberts, Esq., solicitor, Chester. 


recovered estates, Moreton denied this and stated that 
he had no knowledge of the transaction. After a lengthy 
trial before Vice-Chancellor Bacon, all the transactions 
between the parties were ordered to be reopened and in- 
vestigated, but a compromise was subsequently arranged. 
One of the terms of settlement was that Leather should 
re-transfer the Hundred rights to James Moreton. This 
was carried out by a deed of March 19, 1879,* and James 
Moreton resumed his Lordship of the Hundred of 
Wirral, and the ownership of such of Samuel Moreton's 
property as survived the ten years of incessant litigation. 

James Moreton lived for a few years longer, and 
during his life some attempts were made from time to 
time to enforce the few rights which survived to the 
Lord of the Hundred. Notices were sent to fishermen 
and others claiming any sturgeon caught on the coasts 
of the Dee and Mersey, but produced no results, as 
the fish were usually cooked and eaten or sold without 
regard to the notices, and it was not worth while 
attempting to proceed against the fishermen. 

When the Manchester Ship Canal was commenced 
notices were served upon the promoters claiming com- 
pensation in respect of the foreshore of the Mersey, but 
the Canal Company declined to admit that the Lord of 
the Hundred of Wirral had any right to the foreshore, 

1 In the possession of F. E. Roberts, Esq. , solicitor, Chester. The writer was 
baffled for a long time by this re-transfer in his search for the present owners of the 
franchise, as he not unnaturally assumed it had passed on to the descendants of 


and the claim was dropped. This must have been the 
last effort made to establish any of the Hundred rights, 
and forms a curious link between ancient and modern 

James Moreton died in September 1883, and under 
his will (which was proved at Liverpool) the last remnants 
of the franchise of the Hundred of Wirral passed with 
his other property to his executors, Charles Stanyer and 
William Dutton, upon trusts for sale for the benefit of 
his three sisters, Catherine Dodd, Jane Lee, and Margaret 
Green, and their respective children. 

For the past twenty years no attempt has been made 
to exercise any of the lord's rights, and we can safely 
bring our account of the franchise of the Hundred of 
Wirral to a close at this point, as doubtless nothing 
more will ever be heard of it except in the unlikely 
event of a find of valuable Treasure Trove, when it might 
be worth while for the numerous persons now entitled 
to an interest under the will of the last lord to put 
forward their claim. 


List of Officers and Lords of the Hundred of Wirral 

(The names and figures for the years when the Hundred was not farmed are printed in italics.) 


Names of Bedells and Farmers, 

Names of Sheriffs' Approvers. 

Revenue when 
no Lease. 

Reference or 





M. A. 784, 2, m. 3. 

The first year for which 
the Sheriffs' accounts 

survive (see App. II. 

No. i). The rent is 

made up of 3 farms : 

the bedelry,j7, i6s. 8d. ; 

the waifs, 135. 4d. ; and 

the half perquisites, &c. 

135. <}d. In Bucklow 

Hundred the bedelry 


rent was^5, i6s. 4d. , and 


the half perquisites 155. 




M. A. 784, 3, m. 3. 


(quarter of year only) ) 

2 13 4 

M. A. 784, 5. 

For the last three-quar- 
ters of year the revenue 

is collected by ap- 

provers, the bedelry pro- 

ducing j5, 153. id. , the 

Henry de Chorleton \ 


waifs i6s. , and the per- 

Ranulph Raket ) 


quisites 155. id. 




M. A. 784, 6, m. 2. 

The rent of bedelry 

raised to 10, 133. 4d. 

That of Bucklow raised 

to 7, i8s. 



M. A. 784, 7. 




Names of Bedells and Farmers, 
Names of Sheriff's Approvers. 


Revenue when 
no Lease. 

Reference or 




* d. 


M. A. 784, 10. 


Henry de Chorleton 

5 4 i 

M. A. 785, 4. 

The actual revenue of 
the 3 items ^3, los. 7d., 
243. 6d. , and gs. respec- 


Henry de Chorleton \ 
Henry Coly ) 

79 ij 6 

M. A. 785, 7. 

The perquisites pro- 
duced jis, 155. sd. 


Henry Coly 

17 ^3 i 

M. A. 785, 8. 

The perquisites pro- 
duced 12, 153. 7d. 


Henry Coly \ 
Henry del Meoles] 

12 18 9 

M. A. 785, 9, m. 4. 

The waifs in Bucklow 
produced 273. ; in Brox- 

ton > ;$ os - 4^. ; in 
Wirral, i8s. 6d. 


:. } 


M. A. 786, i, 9. 

Record decayed. 


:. } 

9 14 " 

M. A. 786, 4. 




M. A. 786, 5. 

The farms resumed, 
the bedelry at j8, the 
waifs at los. and the 
half perquisites at 503. 



M. A. 786, 6. 



M. A. 786, 7. 




M. A. 786, 8. 


[? H. Coly] 


M. A. 787, i. 

No bedell's name given. 


[roll missing] 




Names of Bedells and Farmers, 
Names of Sheriffs' Approvers. 

Revenue when 
no Lease. 

Reference or 



H. Coly 

S - d 
to i 8 

M. A. 787, 2. 

The revenue included 
,8. 55. 8d. bedelry 
and perquisites, and 
335. fines for "putura" 
and from freeholders. 
No profit from prison 


[? Farmer not named] 

7 10 o 

M. A. 787, 4. 




M. A. 787, 5, m. 4. 

An inclusive farm of 
the Hundred which in- 
cluded the waifs, the 
perquisites, the bedelry, 
the serjeanty of the 
peace, stallage, and 
apparently " pelf." 
.,20, 2s. was paid for 
the same in Bucklow. 



M. A. 787, 7, m. 4. 


[record missing] 


[record missing] 




M. A. 787, 8. 


[record missing] 




M. A. 787, 9, m. 4. 


[record missing] 




M. A. 788, 2. 




M. A. 788, 3. 




Names of Bedells and Farmers, 
Names of Sheriffs' Approvers. 

Revenue wlien 
no Lease. 

Reference or 




* d. 

M. A. 788, 4. 




M. A. 788, 6, m. 4. 


:: } 


M. A. 788, 8, m. 4. 

The farm of Broxton 
Hundred 20. 


:: ! 


M. A. 789, i. 




M. A. 789, 5, m. 4. 

The farmers are de- 
scribed as " ballivi," 
and not as bedells. 




M. A. 789, 6. 




9 13 4 

M. A. 789, 7. 



9 13 4 

M. A. 789, 8, m. 4. 




M. A. 789, 10, m. 4. 

The same farmers as in 
1386, but called bedells. 



10 O 

C. R. R. 64, m. 2, 
d. 9. 

This lease is enrolled 
(see App. II. No. 2). 
The farm of Broxton 
ji2, 135. 4d., Edis- 
bury 8. 




M. A. 790, 3, m. 4. 

The farm of Nantwich 
Hundred 10. 



M. A. 790, 5, m. 7. 



M. A. 790, 6, m. 4. 



M. A. 790, 7, m. 6. 

The farm of Edisbury 
12, 6s. 8d. 




Names of Bedells and Farmers, 
Names of Sheri/s' Approvers. 

Revenue when 
no Lease. 

Reference or 




*. d. 

C. R. R. 70, m. 4, 
d. 8. 
M. A. 790, 8, m. 5. 

This lease is enrolled 
(see App. II. No. 3). 
The farm of Edisbury 
/io, Broxton 12, 
Northwich ,5, 6s. 8d. 




M. A. 790, 9, m. 4. 

The farm of Edisbury 
4, Bucklow 7, 6s. 8d. 




M. A. 790, 10, m. 5. 

The farm of Bucklow 
?, 6s. 8d. 




M. A. 791, i, m. 7. 



M. A. 791, 3, m. 7. 

The farm of Bucklow 
jn. Broxton 11. 




M. A. 791, 5. 




M. A. 791, 6, m. 5. 
C. R. R. 76, m. 13 

This lease is enrolled 
(see App. II. No. 4). 



8 10 o 

M. A. 791, 7, m. 5. 



8 10 o 

M. A. 791, 10, m. 5. 



8 10 o 

M. A. 792, i, m. 6. 



8 13 4 

M. A. 792, 2, m. 6. 



8 13 4 

M. A. 792, 3, m. 6. 



SEE > 


8 13 4 

M. A. 792, 5, m. 6. 




Names of Bedells and Farmers, 
Names of Sheriffs' Approvers. 

Revenue when 
no Lease. 

Reference or 




*. d. 
8 13 4 

M. A. 792, 6, m. 7. 

The farm of Edisbury 
8, 135. 4 d. 



8 13 4 

M. A. 792, 8. 




M. A. 792, 9. 

The account is only 
from Mich. 1411 to 
Jan. 14, 1412. No re- 
ceipts from the farms 
of the Hundreds of 
Cheshire, nor from the 
waifs, nor from prison 
suit. The perquisites 
of all the Hundreds 
were apparently at 
farm, but no name is 





8 13 4 

M. A. 792, 10. 

No profit from prison 



8 13 4 

M. A. 793, i, m. 7. 

No receipts from prison 



8 13 4 

M. A. 793, 2. 



8 13 4 

M. A. 793, 3. 



8 13 4 

M. A. 793, 5. 



8 13 4 

M. A. 793, 6. 



8 13 4 

M. A. 793, 8. 




Names of Bedells and Farmers, 
Names of Sheriffs' Approvers. 

Revenue when 
no Lease. 

Reference or 




'. d. 
8 13 4 

M. A. 793, 10. 



8 13 4 

M. A. 794, i. 

Tbe Sheriff accounts 
for 43. fines of judgers 
and suitors of the Hun- 
dred of Wirral " pro 
sectis suis hoc anno 
integro comitatus ces- 
triensis apud cestrien- 
sem relaxandis. ' ' [This 
kind of entry frequently 



8 13 4 

M. A. 794, 2. 





8 13 4 

M. A. 794, 3, m. 12. 


JOHN Fox \ 

8 13 4 

M. A. 794, 4, m. 12. 




M. A. 794, s,m. 13. 




M. A. 794,7, m. 13. 




M. A. 794,9, m. 13. 




M. A. 795, i, m. 13. 




M. A. 795, 3, m. 12. 




M. A. 795, 4, m. 
12 d. 




Names of Bedells and Farmers, 
Names of Sheriffs Approvers. 

Revenue -when 
no Lease. 

Reference or 




* d. 

M. A. 795, 5, m. 
13 d. 


HUGH Doo j 


M. A. 795, 6, 15, d. 



M. A. 795, 7, m. 



M. A. 795, 8, m. 
17 d. 




M. A. 795, 9, m. 




M. A. 795, 10, m. 
17 d. 


[record decayed] ) 


M. A. 796, i, m. 
15 d. 




M. A. 756, 3, m. 




M. A. 796, 4, m. 
17 d. 




M. A. 796, 5, m. 




M. A. 796, 6, m. 




M. A. 796, 7, m. 
14 d. 



M. A. 796, 8, m. 
12 d. 




Names of Bedells and Farmers, 
Names of Sheriffs' Approvers. 

Revenue when 
no l^ase. 

Reference or 




J. d. 

M. A. 796, 9, m. 
13 d. 




M. A. 796, 10, m. 12. 

The farm of Nantwich, 
7, 33. 4d. 




M. A. 797, i, m. 12. 
C. R. R. 119, m. 
6, u. 

Lease of office of bailiff 
and bedell for 20 years 
(enrolled. SeeApp. II. 
No. 5). The rent is 
paid regularly up to 
and including 1459, 
when the lease seems 
to have come to an 
end. The farm of Edis- 
bury 8. 


Thomas Whityngham 

/ IO 

M. A. 798, 7, m. 10. 

The approver could 
only collect 303. for the 
two years covered by 
this account. 



2 15 7 

M. A. 798, 9, m. 10. 




M. A. 798, 10, m. 10. 




M. A. 799, i, m. n. 



o 16 9 

M. A. 799, 3, m. 9. 


Geoffrey Wolley 

z 5 o 

M. A. 799, 4, m. 8. 


{Edmund Litherlanrf] 

M. A. 799, 5, m. 8. 

The Sheriff returns no 
profits from the Hun- 
dred as EdmundLither- 
land, the bailiff of 
Wirral, took them. 


[Henry Litherland \ 
William Aleyn} ] 

M. A. 799, 6, m. 8. 

No return by the Sheriff, 
but he is debited with 
303. in respect of the 
revenue for this and 
the preceding years. 



Names of Bedells and Farmers, 
Names of Sheriffs' Approvers. 

Revenue when 
no Lease. 

Reference or 



[John Bowland \ 
Roger Oldefield\ ) 

*. d. 

M. A. 799, 7, m. 8. 

No return by the Sheriff, 
but he is debited with 
2os. 8d. collected by 
the bailiffs of Wirral. 



M. A. 799, 8, m. 7. 

No return. The Sheriff 
debited with 175. 


[record missing] 


Roger Oldefield ) 
John Bowland ) 

o 16 i 

M. A. 799, 9, m. 8. 


John Bowland \ 
Geoffrey Wollor] 

I O O 

M. A. 800, i, m. 7. 


William Ormeston > 
Robert Cristelton J 


M. A. 800, 2, m. 7. 



I 6 8 

M. A. 800, 3, m. 8. 

The first lease since the 


of 1445. 



I 6 8 

M. A. 800, 4, m. 9. 



I 6 8 

M. A. 800, 5, m. 8. 



I 6 8 

M. A. 800, 6, m. 8. 



I 6 8 

M. A. 800, 7, m. 7. 



I 6 8 

M. A. 800, 8, m. 8. 



I 6 8 

M. A. 800, 10, m. 8. 



I 6 8 

M. A. 801, i, m. 7. 



Names of Bedells and Farmers, 
Names of Sheriffs' Approvers. 

Revenue when 
no Lease. 

Reference or 



[record missing] 

* d. 



I 6 8 

M. A. 801, a. 



I 6 8 

M. A. II. 1500, m. 

No income from the 
fines of judgers and 
suitors of the Hundreds, 
which in 18 Ric. II. 
produced 13. 



I 6 8 

M. A. II. 1501, m. 6. 



I 6 8 

M. A. II. 1502, m. 6. 



I 6 8 

M. A. II. 1503 ,m. 7. 



I 6 8 

M. A. II. 1504, m. 7. 



I 6 8 

M. A. II. 1506. 



I 6 8 

M.A. II. 1508, m. 7. 



I 6 8 

M.A. II. 1509, m. 7. 



I 6 8 

M.A. II. 1510, m. 7. 



I 6 8 

M.A. II. 1511, m. 9. 



I 6 8 

M. A. II. 1512, m. 


I 6 8 

M.A. II. 1513, m. 8. 




Names of Bedells and Farmers, 
Names of Sheriffs' Approvers. 

Revenue -when 
no Lease. 

Reference or 




* d. 
I 6 8 

M. A. II. 1514, m. 8. 



I 6 8 

M. A. II. 1515, m. 9. 



I 7 8 

M. A. II. 1516, m. 8. 

Probably a mistake for 
i. 6s. 8d. 



I 6 8 

M. A. II. 1517, m. 7. 



I 6 8 

M.A. II. 1518, m. 9. 



I 6 8 

M. A. II. 1519, m. 9. 

The account is dated 
17-18 Hen. VIII., but 
should be dated 18-19 
Hen. VIII. 


[records missing] 

It seems doubtful if any 
accounts ever were ren- 
dered for these 3 years. 



I 6 8 

M. A. II. 1520, m. 




I 10 

M. A. II. 1522, m. 

C. R. R. 176, m. 
9, 2. 

A lease for 2 years 
(enrolled. See App. 
II. No. 6). 



i ii 8 

C. R. R. 179, m. i. 

M. A. (Chester) i & 
2 Hen. VIII. 

A lease for 14 years 
(enrolled. See App. 
II. No. 7). Rent in- 
creased is. 8d. 
Farm of Edisbury 
6, IDS. 



I il 8 

M. A. (Chester) 16- 
21 Hen. VIII. 

The lease of 1509 appa- 
rently renewed. 
The enrolments can- 
not be found. 



Names of Bedells and Farmers, 
Names of Sheriffs' Approvers. 

Revenue when 
no Lease. 

Reference or 




s. d 
I II 8 

M. A. (Chester) 21 
Hen. VIII. 



I II 8 

M. A. (Chester) 22 
Hen. VIII.- 3 6 

The M. A. do not give 
the lessee's name for a 
period of 65 years and 
no enrolments can be 
found. The bedell is not 
mentioned after the end 
of Hen. VIII. North- 
wichisletfor^7, is. 8d. 
in 1538. Bucklow for 
2, os. 4d. in 1558, and 
Nantwich for 8 in 



I II 8 

Aug. Office, Mis- 
cell. Books, 228, 
f. 148. 

Lease for 21 years 
(enrolled. SeeApp. II. 
No. 8). 



I II 8 

Land Rev. Enrol, 
vol. clvii. f. 122. 

Lease for 27 years 
(enrolled. SeeApp. II. 
No. 9). 



Royalist Composi- 
tion Papers, 1646. 




2 II 8 

Pipe Office, Crown 
Leases, 2859. 

Lease for 21 years. 
Rent increased i (en- 
rolled. See App. II, 
No. 10). 


THOMAS DOD (on a surrender ) 

2 II 8 

Pipe Office, Crown 
Leases, 3261. 

Lease for 31 years 
(enrolled. SeeApp. II. 
No. n). The rent of 
the Hundred of Buck- 
low in 1681, 2, 75. 



Transferee [?]. 



2 II 8 

Pipe Office, Crown 
Leases, 3801. 

Lease for 25 years in 
trust for John Glegg 
(enrolled. SeeApp. II. 
No. 12). The rent of 
the Hundred of Buck- 
low in 1701, a, 75. 
and i heriot. 



Names of Bedells and Farmers, 
Names of Sheriffs' Approvers. 

Revenue when 
no Lease. 

Reference or 




s. d 

2 II 8 

Pipe Office, Crown 
Leases, 4373. 

Lease for 29 years 
(enrolled. SeeApp. II. 
No. 13). 


2 II 8 

Pipe Office, Crown 
Leases, 5099. 

Lease for 25 years 
(enrolled. SeeApp. II. 
No. 14). 



Land Rev. Enrol, 
vol. xvi. 

Deed of transfer (en- 
rolled. See App. II. 
No. 15). 


2 II 8 

Pipe Office, Crown 
Leases, 6012 

Lease for 27 years 
(enrolled. SeeApp. II. 
No. 16). The rent of 
the Hundred of Buck- 
low, 2, IQS. raised in 
1813 to 3, IDS. 



As heir of John Glegg. 


Lords of the Hundred. 





Land Rev. Enrol, vol. xviii. f. 35. 

The Hundred sold by 
the Crown for .230. 
(Deed enrolled. See 
App. II. No. 17). 



Mortgage deeds 23-24 Feb. 1829. 



Will of Samuel Williams. 



Deed, Sept. 23, 1854. 

Sale of the Hundred 
for 99, 195. 



As heir-at-law. 


The devisees under the will of 
James Moreton 

Leases, etc., of the Hundred of Wirral from 1352 to 1820 


IN view of their inaccessibility the writer has printed all the enrolled 
leases. Except of the first document no translations seem necessary. 
The leases in English will be sufficient for the general reader, whilst 
others will prefer the original Latin. The deed of 1820 is fully printed, 
as seems desirable, seeing that a mutilated copy is given in Mortimer's 
" History of Wirral." The deeds subsequent to 1 820 are in the ordinary 
forms of deeds relating to freehold property and are of no interest. 

No. i 
Farms of the Hundred of Wirral, 1352 


Exitus vagorum. [Idem respondet] de xiij s iiij d de exitibus vagorum 
Hundredi de Wirhal sic affirmatis Ranulpho Raket et 
Henrico de Chorleton, bedellis hoc anno : 

Perquisita Hun- et de xiij s iiij d de medietate perquisitorum Hundredi 

dredorum. de Wirhal sic affirmata Ranulpho Raket et Henrico 

de Chorleton, bedellis hoc anno. Unde alia medietas 

pertinet eisdem bedellis ratione firme sue per con- 


Firma Bedel- et de vij 11 xvj s viij d de firma bedelerie Hundredi de 
lorum Wirhal sic affirmate hoc anno Ranulpho Raket et 

Henrico de Chorleton bedellis, per dictos camerarium 
et vicecomitem, qui capient ratione firme sue medietatem perquisitorum 
et amerciamentorum totius Hundredi, puturam vel finem pro putura de 
antiquo delicto per loca in Hundredo predicto, fines diversorum liberorum 
tenentium per cartam quorum terre et tenementa non excedunt valorem 



xl s per annum ne faciant summonitiones in panellis, terciam partem 
valoris vagorum per eos presentatorum, et suetam de indictatis 1 de 
transgressionibus a tempore brevis vicecomitis percepti pro eisdem 
attachiatis respectuandis usque proximum comitatum. 


Issues of the [He answers] for 135. 4d. in respect of the issues of 
waifs. the felons' goods of the Hundred of Wirhal let to farm 

to Ranulph Raket and Henry de Chorleton the bedells 

for this year : 

Perquisites of the and for 135. 4d. for one half of the perquisites of the 
Hundreds. Hundred of Wirhal let to farm to Ranulph Raket and 

Henry de Chorleton the bedells for this year; the 

other half belongs to the bedells by reason of their 

farm by customary agreement : 

Farm of the and for 7, i6s. 8d. from the farm of the bedelry of 
Bedells. the Hundred of Wirhal let to farm for this year by the 

said Chamberlain and Sheriff to Ranulph Raket and 
Henry de Chorleton the bedells, who will take by reason of their farm 
half of the perquisites and amerciaments of the whole Hundred ; puture 
or a fine in lieu thereof in respect of the ancient obligation in various 
places in the said Hundred; the fines paid by divers freemen holding 
by charter whose lands and tenements do not exceed in value 405. per 
annum, to avoid having to serve the jury summonses ; a third part of 
the value of the felons' goods presented by them ; and suit from those 
indicted for trepasses from the time of the sheriff's writ being received 
for respiting the same attached persons until the next County Court. 

NOTE. This entry occurs more or less in the same form until 1372. The chief 
variations are in the words immediately following- "suetam," which are either " in- 
dictatorum de transgressionibus " or " prisonum indictatorum." The meaning seems 
the same. " Debito " is sometimes written for " delicto." In 1372 an inclusive farm 
was taken " Vagorum, perquisitorum hundredi, bedelrie, serjantie pacis et stallagii 
Hundredi de Wyrhall " and apparently included " certa bona et catalla felonum et 
fugitivorum que vocantur pelf. :> (M.A. 787, 5, m. 4). 

1 Always hitherto read as "medietate," but the writer's suggestion that it was "in- 
dictatis " was verified by Mr. W. K. Boyd after the roll had been treated with solution. 


No. 2 

Lease of the Bedelry of the Hundred of Wirral to Henry 
le Bruyn and Richard de Prestlond, 1391 

(C. R. R. No. 64, M. 2, D. 9.) 

Cognitio pro do- HENRICUS LE BRUYN de Morton et Ricardus de Prest- 
ntino Rege. lond venerunt in scaccario hie die et anno predictis l 

et ceperunt ad firmam officium bedellarie hundredi de 
Wirehale per tempus predictum 2 Reddentes domino regi pro officio 
predicto per idem tempus x libras per manucapcionem coram vicecomite 
inveniendam. Et nisi, etc. 

No. 3 

Lease of the Bedelry to Thomas de Waley, 1397 
(C. R. R. No. 70, M. 4, D. 8.) 

Dimissio offici- THOMAS DE WALEY venit in scaccario hie die et anno 

orum Bedellari- predictis 3 coram prefatis camerario et vicecomite et 

arum Hundred- cepit ad firmam officium Bedellarie in hundredo de 

orum in comitatu Wirehale Tenendum per tempus predictum 4 Reddens 

Cestriae. inde domino regi per idem tempus hie ad scac- 

carium predictum x libras solvendas ad festa predicta 


No. 4 

Lease of the Bedelry to John de Saynesbury and 
Hugo de Brumburgh, 1403 

(C. R. R. No. 76, M. 13, u.) 

Dimissio ad fir- JOHANNES DE SAYNESBURY unus ballivorum vice- 
wow bedellarie comitis Cestrie in hundredo de Wirehale venit in 
hundredi de scaccario hie IX. die Augusti anno regni regis Henrici 
Wyrehale. quarti post conquestum quarto et cepit ad firmam tarn 

nomine suo proprio quam nomine Hugonis de Brum- 
burgh consortis sui et alterius ballivorum in hundredo predicto officium 
bedellarie hundredi de Wyrehale Habendum sibi cum omnibus exitibus 

1 5th Oct., 15 Ric. II. 2 One year from Michaelmas. 

3 2 ist Feb., 20 Ric. II. 4 One year from Michaelmas last. 



et proficuis eidem officio pertinentibus sive spectantibus a festo sancti 
Michaelis anno regni regis Henrici post conquestum tercio usque festum 
sancti Michaelis extunc proxime sequens Reddens inde domino comiti 
Cestrie viii libras solvendas ad festum sancti Michaelis proxime futurum. 

NO. 5 

Henry VI.'s Lease to Sir Thomas Stanley and others, 1445 
(C. R. R. No. 119, M. 6, 10 & u.) 

Dimissio ad fir- REX etc. Omnibus ad quos presentes litterae pervene- 
mam Hundredi rint Salutem. Sciatis quod concessimus et ad firmam 
de Wyrehale. dimisimus dilecto et fideli nostro Thome Stanley militi 
Galfrido Starkey de Northwico et Roberto More 
officium ballivi et bedellarie hundred! de [Wyrehale] l cum omnibus 
exitibus proficuis Turnis vicecomitis et aliis commoditatibus eidem 
officio qualicumque pertinentibus sive spectantibus Habendum eisdem 
Thome Galfrido et Roberto a festo Sancti Michaelis ultime preterite usque 
finem termini viginti annorum extunc proxime sequentium plenarie 
complendorum Reddendum inde nobis annuatim ad scaccarium nostrum 
Cestrie septem libras ad festa Pasche et Sancti Michaelis equaliter. 

In cujus rei testimonum has litteras nostras fieri fecimus patentes. 
Teste me ipso apud Cestriam xii die Octobris anno regni nostri 
vicesimo quarto. 

No. 6 

Henry VII.'s Lease of the Hundred to Robert Trafford, 1507 

(C. R. R. No. 176, M. 9, 2.) 

[Dimissio] ad HENRICUS etc. Omnibus etc. Sciatis quod nos per 
\firmam\ \Ro- manucapcionem Johannis Trafford capellani concessi- 
ber\to \Traffor\d mus et ad firmam dimisimus Roberto Trafford omnes 
Hundredi de exitus placitorum hundredi de Wirehall necnon fines 
Wyrehall. amerciamenta forisfacturas et commoditates ballivae 

predictae pertinentes sive aliquo modo spectantes cum 
exercitacione et occupacione ballivae predictae Habendum et Tenendum 

1 The same parties took a lease of the Hundred of Eddisbury, which is fully enrolled 
as above, and is followed by an abridged " consimilis dimissio " of the Hundred of 


eidem Roberto et assignatis suis a festo sancti Michaelis Archangel! 
ultirae preterite usque finem termini duorum annorum extunc proxime 
sequentium et plenarie complendorum Reddendum inde annuatim nobis 
et heredibus nostris comitibus Cestrie ad scaccarium nostrum ibidem 
viginti sex solidos et octo denarios prout responsum fuit in compotis 
precedentibus et tres solidos et quatuor denarios ultra de incremento 
Solvendos ad festa Pasche et Sancti Michaelis Archangeli per equales 

In cujus rei etc. Teste etc. Primo die Decembris anno regni nostri 
vicesimo tercio. 

No. 7 

Henry VIII.'s Lease of the Hundred to John ap Ithell 
and James Bebynton, 1509 

(C. R. R. No. 179, M. i.) 

HENRICUS dei gratia Rex Anglic et Francie et dominus Hibernie Omni- 
bus ad quos presentes litterae pervenerint. Salutem. Sciatis quod nos 
per manucapcionem Johannis Glegge de Gayton armigeri concessimus 
et ad firmam dimisimus Johanni ap Ithell et Jacobo Bebynton et eorum 
alteri omnes exitus et proficua officui Ballivi et Bedellarie hundredi 
nostri de Wirehall in comitatu Cestrie Habendum et tenenendum eisdem 
Johanni et Jacobo et assignatis suis a festo Sancti Michaelis Arch- 
angeli ultime preterito usque finem termini quatuor decem annorum 
extunc proxime sequentium et plenarie complendorum Reddendum 
inde annuatim nobis ad [scaccarium] nostrum Cestrie triginta solidos 
et viginti denarios de incremento annuatim solvendos ad festa Pasche 
et Sancti Michaelis Archangeli per equales porciones. 

In cujus rei testimonium has litteras nostras fieri fecimus patentes. 
Teste me ipso apud Cestriam decimo Januarii anno regni nostri primo. 

No. 8 
Queen Elizabeth's Lease to Cuthbert Venables, 1596 


Cestria. REGINA omnibus ad quos etc. Salutem. Sciatis quod 

nos pro quadam pecuniae summa nomine finis ad 

Receptorem Scaccarii nostri ad usum nostrum per dilectum nobis 


Cuthbertum Venables soluta de avisamento dilectorum et fidelium 
consiliariorum nostrorum Willelmi Baron de Burghley Thesaurarii 
nostri Anglie et Johannis Fortescue militis Cancellarii et subthesaurarii 
curiae Scaccarii nostri Tradidimus concessimus et ad firmam dimisimus 
ac per presentes Tradimus concedimus et ad firmam dimittimus prefato 
Cuthberto Venables Totum illud Hundredum nostrum de Wyrehall 
cum suis juribus membris et pertinentiis universis in comitatu nostro 
Cestriae Ac omnes illos certos annuales redditus ad dictum hundredum 
solubiles spectantes et pertinentes ac etiam omnes et omnimodi curias 
letas visum franciplegii ac perquisita et proficua earundem ac etiam 
fines et amerciamenta in curia [de Turno] vicecomitis in hundredo pre- 
dicto facta necnon felonum et fugitivorum felonum sectam ad curiam 
hundredi predicti ac relevia escaetas exitus lez lawdayes assaiam et 
assisas panis vini bere et cervisie waviata bona et catalla felonum et 
fugitivorum felonum de se et in exigendis positorum condempnatorum 
et utlagatorum extrahuras theolonia custumas consuetudines deodanda 
jurisdictiones privilegia proficua commoditates advantagia et emolu- 
menta quecunque hundredo predicto pertinentia sive spectantia aut 
infra hundredum predictum accidentia provenientia renovantia sive 
emergentia in tarn amplis modo et forma pro-ut aliquis Comes aut 
aliqui Comites in Cestria in jure aut racione hundredi predicti unquam 
habuit tenuit vel gavisus fuit habuere tenuere vel gaudere debuere aut 
debuit ac pro-ut ea omnia et singula premissa ad manus nostras devenere 
aut devenire debuerunt aut debent parcellam possessionum olim 
Comitis Cestriae in dicto Comitatu Exceptis tamen semper et nobis 
heredibus et successoribus nostris omnino reservatis omnibus et 
omnimodi finibus et amerciamentis et exitibus annuatim de tempore 
in tempus provenientibus crescentibus sive renovantibus in aliqua 
Curia sive aliquibus curiis nostris de Recordo (preterquam in Curia 
Hundredi predicti) sive coram Justiciariis nostris ad assisas sive coram 
Justiciariis nostris ad pacem aut clerico mercati provenientibus cres- 
centibus sive renovantibus ac pro libertate levacionum et colleccionum 
infra hundredum predictum Habendum et Tenendum predictum Hun- 
dredum ac cetera omnia et singula premissa superius per presentes 
dimissa cum eorum juribus membris libertatibus privilegiis et perti- 


nentiis universis (exceptis pre-exceptis) prefato Cuthberto Venables 
executoribus et assignatis suis a festo Sancti Michaelis Archangeli 
ultime preterite usque ad finem termini et per terminum viginti et 
unius annorum extunc proxime sequentium et plenarie complendorum 
Reddendum inde annuatim nobis heredibus successoribus nostris 
trigenta unum solidos et octo denarios legalis monetae Anglic ad 
festa Annunciacionis Beate Marie Virginis et Sancti Michaelis Arch- 
angeli ad Receptorem Scaccarii nostri seu ad manus Ballivi vel Recep- 
torum pro tempore existente per equates porciones solvendos durante 
termino predicto. Proviso semper quod si contigeret predictum red- 
ditum superius per presentes reservatum sic aretro fore non solutum 
in parte vel in toto per spacium quadraginta dierum post aliquod 
festum festorum predictorum quo ut prefertur solvi debeat quod tune 
et deinceps haec presens dimissio et concessio vacua sit ac pro nihilo 
teneatur aliquo in presentibus in contrarium inde non obstante aliquo 
statute etc. In cujus rei etc. Teste etc. apud Westmonasterium vice- 
simo die Februarii anno regni nostri tricesimo octavo. 

No. 9 
Charles I.'s Lease to William Trafford, 1628 


Indentura Wil- THIS Indenture made the v th daye of November anno 
lelmi Trafford Domini 1628 and in the iiij th yeere of the raigne of our 
pro Hundredo Soveraigne Lorde Charles by the grace of God Kinge 
de Were hall in of England Scotland France and Ireland defender of 
Comitatu Cestrie. the faith &c. Betweene Sir John Walter Knight 
Chiefe Baron of his Majestes Courte of Exchequer, Sir 
James Fullerton Knight one of the Gentlemen of his Majestes Bed- 
chamber, and Sir Thomas Trevor Knight one of the Barons of his 
Majestes saide Courte of Exchequer, of the one parte, and William 
Trafford of BridgtrafFord in the Countye of Chester gentleman, of the 
other parte : Whereas the saide Sir John Walter, Sir James Fullerton 
and Sir Thomas Trevor doe stand and are possessed amongst other 


thinges of and in the Hundred of Wirehall with the rightes members 
and appurtenances in the Countye of Chester parcell of the ancient 
possessions of the Earle of Chester for the terme of divers yeeres yet 
enduringe to and for the onlye use and behoofe of the Kinges Majestic : 
And whereas theire was a composition made the xxiiij th daye of 
November 1624 by his Majestes Comissioners of that revenue which 
he had when he was Prince of Wales, to and with the saide William 
Trafford for a lease of all the thinges hereinafter graunted for the 
terme of xxxi tie yeeres to comence from the Feaste of Saint Michael 
Tharchangell last paste before the date of the saide composition in 
consideration of the Fine of x 1 '- and of the yeerly rente hereinafter 
reserved : Which lease hath bine neglected to be sued forth : Now this 
Indenture witnesseth that the saide Sir John Walter, Sir James 
Fullerton and Sir Thomas Trevor by warrant of his Majestes saide 
comission as well for and in consideration of the saide some of x u - 
already payde to the handes of his Majestes Receivours Generall of 
that revenue which was his Highnes when he was Prince for and in 
the name of a fine, as for the yeerly rente hereinafter reserved, have 
granted and to Farme letten, And by theis presentes doe graunte and 
to Farme lett unto the saide William Trafford : All that Hundred of 
Wirehall with the rightes, members and appurtenances what soever 
in the saide Countye of Chester and all yearly rentes certaine to the 
saide Hundred payeable belonginge or appurteyninge, And allsoe all 
and all manner of Courte leetes, viewes of Franckpledge and perquisites 
and profittes of the same, and allsoe all Fines and Amerciamentes made 
in the Turne Courtes of the Sheriffe in the Hundred afore saide, And 
alsoe suite at the Hundred Courte aforesaide, And alsoe Releifes, 
escheates, issues, lawedayes, Assisse of Breade, wine, Beere and Ale, 
waifes,goodes and chattells of Felons and Fugitives, felons of themselves, 
and putt in exigent condempned men, and outlawes, estrayes, Tolles, 
customes, deodandes, rightes, jurisdictions, priviledges, profittes, 
comodities, advantages and emolumentes whatsoever to the Hundred 
aforesaide belonginge or apperteyninge (except and alwayes reserved 
out of this present demise and graunte, all fines, issues, and amercia- 
mentes, yeerlye and from tyme to tyme cominge, encreasinge or 


renewinge in any Courte or Courtes of record besides in the Hundred 
Courte aforesaide or before the Justices of Assisse or before the Kinges 
Majestes Justices of Peace, or the Clarke of the Markett with libertye 
for the leavyinge and collection of the same within the Hundred afore- 
saide) : To have and to holde the saide Hundred of Wirehall, and all 
and singular other the premisses with thappurtenances (except before 
excepted) unto the saide William Trafford his executours Adminis- 
tratours and Assignes from the Feaste of Saint Michael Tharchangelt 
last paste before the date hereof unto the full ende and terme of xxvij tie 
yeeres, from thence next ensuinge fullye to be compleate and ended. 
Yeldinge and payinge and the saide William Trafford for his heires 
executours, administratours and assignes doeth covenant and promise to 
and with the said Sir John Walter Sir James Fullerton and Sir Thomas 
Trevor and theire Assignes by theise presentes to yeelde and paye 
therefore yeerely duringe the saide terme the yeerelye rente or some 
of xxxj s viij d of lawfull monye of England at twoe usuall Feastes or 
termes in the yeere (that is to saye) at the Feastes of Saint Michael 
Tharchangell and Thanunciacion of the blessed Virgin Marye by even 
and equall portions to be paide to the handes of his Majestes Receiver 
or Receivours of the premisses for the tyme beinge to his Majestes use ' 
Provided alwayes that if the saide yeerelye rent of xxxj s viij d or any 
parte thereof shalbe behinde and unpaide after anye of the saide 
Feastes wherin the same ought to be payde by the space of xxiij tie 
dayes then this presente lease and graunte to be void, and of none 
effect any thinge herein conteyned to the contrarye in any wise not- 
withstandinge. And the saide William Trafford for himselfe his heires, 
executors, administratours and assignes doeth covenante and graunte 
to and with the said Sir John Walter Sir James Fullerton and Sir 
Thomas Trevor and theire assignes by these presentes, That he the 
saide William Trafford his executours, administratours and assignes, 
shall and will from tyme to tyme duringe the saide terme finde and 
provide a sufficient Stewarde skillfull in the lawes to keepe the Courtes 
within the saide Hundred and shall paye to him his Fees, and shall 
beare and paye all chardges and expences whatsoever which shall from 
tyme to tyme be necessarilye expended aboute the keepinge of the 

i8 4 APPENDIX n 

saide Courtes. And alsoe shall and will yeerleye, and everye yeere 
duringe the saide terme make and deliver or cause to be made and 
delivered unto the saide Kinges Majestic or his heires or to the 
comissionours of his revenue for the tyme being a true and perfec 
extract of all the Fines issues and amerciaments and other casualties 
profittes and comodityes whatsoever arysing or receaved within the 
saide Hundred to the end his Highnes inheritance may be therby the 
better knowne and preserved. And shall not doe nor suffer nor consent 
to be done anye acte or default whereby his Highnes right to anye of 
the saide casualties maye be any waies prejudiced or impared. And 
lastlye shall and will enroll this lease or cause the same to be inrolled 
before his Majestes Auditor of the premisses within sixe monthes next 
after the date hereof upon paine to forfeite to his Majestic his heires 
and successors C s of lawfull monye of Englande for defaulte of such 

In witness whereof to the one parte of theise presentes remayninge 
in the handes of the saide William Trafford the saide Sir John Walter 
Sir James Fullerton and Sir Thomas Trevor by warraunte aforesaide 
have putt theire handes and Scales : And to the other parte of the saide 
Indenture remayninge in the handes of the saide Sir John Walter Sir 
James Fullerton and Sir Thomas Trevor the saide William Trafford 
have putt his hande and Scale the daye and yeere above written. 

Sealed and delivered by the within named Sir JOHN 
WALTER in the presence of 

William Wickstead. 
Wm. Milles. 

Sealed and delivered by the within named Sir JAMES 
FULLERTON in the presence of 

Nich. Guille. 
Ja. Natone. 

Sealed and delivered [by] the within named Sir THO. 
TREVOR in the presence of 

Ed. Harris. 
William Wickstead. 


No. 10 
Charles II.'s Lease to John Carter, 1662 


Dimissio facta REX omnibus ad quos etc. Salutem. Sciatis quod nos 
Johanni Carter tarn pro et in consideracione Increment! redditus 
generoso Totius inferius per presentes reservati quam pro quibusdam 
illius Hundredi aliis bonis causis et consideracionibus nos ad presens 
de Wirehall in moventibus de avisamento dilecti et fidelis consan- 
Comitatu pre- guinei et consiliarii nostri Thome comitis Southampton 
dido Reddendo summi Thesaurarii nostri Anglic ac etiam dilecti et 
per annum xxx? fidelis consiliarii nostri Anthonii Domini Ashley Can- 
viii d et XX s de cellarii et subthesaurarii Curie Scaccarii nostri Tradi- 
incremento pro dimus Concessimus et ad firmam dimisimus ac per 
xxi annis. presentes pro nobis heredibus et successoribus nostris 

tradimus concedimus et ad firmam diraittimus dilecto 
nobis Johanni Carter generoso totum illud hundredum nostrum de 
Wirehall cum suis juribus membris et pertinenciis quibuscunque in 
comitatu nostro cestrie ac omnes certos annuales Redditus dicto 
Hundredo solubiles spectantes vel pertinentes ac etiam omnia et omni- 
moda curias letas et visus franciplegii et perquisita et proficua eorundem 
ac etiam omnia fines et amerciamenta facta in Curia de Turno vice- 
comitis in dicto Hundredo ac etiam sectam ad curiam Hundredi 
predicti Necnon relevia escaetas exitus dierum legalium Curias assisae 
panis vini cervisie et zithi waviata bona et catalla felonum et fugitivorum 
felonum de se et in exigendis positorum condemptnatorum et utlaga- 
torum extrahuras tollneta custumas deodanda jura jurisdictiones 
privilegia proficua commoditates advantagia et emolumenta quecunque 
dicto Hundredo spectantia vel pertinentia Exceptis tamen semper et 
nobis heredibus et successoribus nostris omnino reservatis omnibus 
finibus exitibus et amerciamentis annuatim et de tempore in tempus 
provenientibus accrescentibus vel renovantibus in aliqua curia vel 
curiis nostris de Recordo (preter in curia Hundredi predicti) coram 
Justiciariis ad assisas Justiciaries ad pacem vel coram clerico mercati 


cum licencia levandi et colligendi eadem infra dictum Hundredum Que 
omnia et singula premissa superius per presentes dimissa sunt 
Parcella possessionum olim comitis Cestrie in dicto comitatu Habendum 
Tenendum et Gaudendum Hundredum predictum ac cetera premissa 
superius per presentes dimissa seu dimitti mencionata cum eorum 
juribus membris libertatibus et pertinenciis universis (exceptis pre- 
exceptis) prefato Johanni Carter [generoso executoribus] et assignatis 
suis a festo Annunciationis beate Marie Virginis ultime preterite usque 
ad finem termini et per terminum viginti et unius annorum extunc 
proxime sequentium et plenarie complendorum Reddendo inde annuatim 
nobis heredibus et successoribus nostris triginta unum solidos et octo 
denarios legalis monete Anglic (prout antea responsum fuit) necnon 
viginti solidos consimilis legalis monete Anglic ultra de incremento per 
annum ad festa sancti Michaelis Archangeli et Annunciationis beate 
Marie Virginis ad receptam Scaccarii nostri heredum et successorum 
nostrorum Westmonasterii seu ad manus vicecomitis Comitatus Cestrie 
predicte pro tempore existente per equales porciones Solvendos durante 
termino predicto Et predictus Johannes Carter pro se heredibus exe- 
cutoribus et assignatis suis convenit et concedit ad et cum nobis 
heredibus et successoribus nostris per presentes quod ipse predictus 
Johannes executores et assignati sui infra spacium trium annorum 
proxime sequentium post datam harum litterarum nostrarum Patentium 
et sic deinceps quolibet septimo anno durante termino predicto facient 
seu fieri causabunt unum particularem schedulam sive rentale vel 
particulare omnium reddituum et proficuorum premissorum predictum 
continens tarn nomina et loca habitacionum omnium et quarum 
cunque personarum inhabitancium infra hundredum predictum de 
quibus predicti redditus et certitudines cum ceteris premissis predictis 
sive aliqua inde parcella tempore confeccionis dicti particularis schedule 
sive rentalis sunt vel erint solubilia et solvenda quam separalium 
villarum et hamlettorum de et pro quibus predicti redditus et certi- 
tudines et cetera premissa et unumquemque dictarum personarum et 
inhabitancium ut profertur respective tune erint solubilia et eandem 
particularem schedulam sive rentale plane et distincte factam et in 
pergameno redactam ac manu dicti Johannis Carter executorum vel 


assignatorum suorum signatam et subscriptam in officium Clerico Pipe 
quolibet septimo anno ut supradicitur durante predicto termino de- 
liberabunt ibidem de Recordo remansuram quo melius et citius officiarii 
nostri heredum et successorum nostrorum post expiracionem dicti 
termini eosdem annuales redditus et incrementum redditus et quamlibet 
inde parcellam ad usum nostrum heredum et successorum nostrorum 
colligere et recipere possint et valeant Proviso semper quod si con- 
tingent predictum annualem redditum triginta unius solidorum et octo 
denariorum vel predictum incrementum redditus viginti solidorum 
aretro fore non solutum in parte vel in toto per spacium quadraginta 
dierum post aliquod festum festorum predictorum quout prefertur solvi 
debeat, Aut si predictus Johannes Carter executores vel assignati sui 
non irrotulabunt seu irrotulari causabunt has litteras nostras Patentes 
coram Clerico Pipe vel deputato suo sufficiente pro tempore existente 
infra spacium sex mensium proxime sequentium post datam eorundem 
quod tune et deinceps hec presens dimissio vel concessio nostra vacua 
sit ac pro nullo habeatur aliquo in presentibus in contrarium inde non 
obstante aliquo Statute etc. In cujus etc. 


[Endorsed] Teste, etc. apud Westmonasterium duo- 
decimo die Maii anno regis regni Caroli 
Secundi quarto-decimo. xiiii. 

No. II 
Charles II.'s Lease to Thomas Dod, 1679 


Comitatus Cestrie. REX omnibus ad quos etc. salutem. Cum nos per 
Dimissio facta litteras nostras Patentes confectas gerentes datam 
Thome Dod de duodecimo die Maii anno Regni nostri decimo quarto 


Hundredo de pro consideracione in eisdem expressa Tradiderimus 
Wirehall cum concesserimuset adfirmamdimiserimuscuidam Johanni 
pertinenciis pro Carter generoso totum illud Hundredum nostrum de 
termino triginta et Wirehall {etc. as in Carter's leased] Excepto prout per 
unius annorum a easdem litteras nostras patentes exceptum existit 
festo Annuncia- Habendum tenendum et gaudendum Hundredum pre- 
tionis beate Marie dictum ac cetera premissa prefato Johanni Carter 
Virginis 1679. executoribus et assignatis suis a festo Annuncia- 
Reddendo per tionis beate Marie Virginis tune ultimo preterite 
annum quinqua- usque ad finem termini et per terminum viginti et 
ginta unum soli- unius annorum extunc proximo sequentium et plenarie 
dos et octo de- complendorum sub annuali redditu triginta unius soli- 
narios. dorum octo denariorum necnon viginti solidos ultro de 

incremento prout per easdem Literas nostras Patentes, 
relacione adinde habita, plenius apparet, Quas quidem Litteras nostras 
Patentes ac cetera premissa superius mencionata cum pertinenciis 
ad 1 tota jus statum titulum interesse et terminum annorum adhuc 
venturorum de et in premissis predictis prerecitata dilectus subditus 
noster Randulphus Dod armiger per debitam juris formam ac suffi- 
cientern conveianciam in lege modo habens et gaudens nobis sursum- 
reddidit et restituit cancellanda ea tamen intentione quod Nos has 
Litteras nostras Patentes et aliam dimissionem nostram de premissis 
in forma sequenti facere et concedere dignaremur, Quamquidem 
sursum redditionem acceptamus et allocamus per presentes. Sciatis 
igitur quod Nos tarn pro et in consideracione sursum-redditionis pre- 
dicte quam ex gratia nostra speciali certa scientia et mero motu nostris 
Ac pro diversis aliis bonis causis et considerationibus nos ad presens 
moventibus de avisamento dilecti et fidelis consanguinei et consiliarii 
nostri Arthuri Comitis Essex Ac etiam dilectorum et fidelium Lawrencii 
Hyde armigeri, Johannis Ernie militis consiliarii nostri ac Cancellarii et 
subthesaurarii Curie Scaccarii nostri, Edwardi Deering Barroneti et 
Sydnei Godolphin armigeri Commissionariorum Thesaurarii nostri 
Tradidimus, concessimus et ad firmam dimisimus ac per presentes pro 

1 Error for ac. 


nobis heredibus et successoribus nostris tradimus concedimus et ad 
firmam dimittimus prefato Thome Dod generoso totum illud predictum 
Hundredum nostrum de Wirehall [etc. as in Carter s lease}. Exceptis 
tamen semper et Nobis heredibus et successoribus nostris omnino 
reservatis, [etc. as in Carter s lease] Habendum tenendum et gaudendum 
Hundredum predictum ac cetera premissa superius per presentes 
dimissa seu dimitti mencionata cum eorum juribus membris libertatibus 
et pertinenciis universis (exceptis preexceptis) prefato Thome Dod 
generoso executoribus et assignatis suis a festo Annunciationis beate 
Marie Virginis ultimo preterito ante datam harum literarum nostrarum 
Patentium usque ad finem termini et per terminum triginti et unius 
annorum extunc proximo sequentium et plenarie complendorum. 
Reddendo inde annuatim Nobis heredibus et successoribus nostris 
triginta unum solidos et octo denarios legalis moneti Anglic necnon 
viginti solidos comsimilis monete Anglic prout antea responsum in toto 
quinquaginta unum solidos et octo denarios per annum ad Receptam 
Scaccarii nostri heredum et successorum nostrorum Westmonasterii 
seu ad manum vicecomitis Comitatus predicti ad festa sancti Michaelis 
Archangeli et Annunciationis beate Marie Virginis per equales porciones 
solvendos durante termino predicto Et predictus Thomas Dod pro se 
heredibus executoribus et assignatis suis convenit et concedit [etc. as 
in Carter's lease}. Proviso semper quod et contigerit [etc. as in Carter's 
lease}. In cujus rei etc. 

(Signed) L. HYDE. 

Examinatur per Ro. Croke Clericum Pipe. 

[Endorsed] Teste etc. vicesimo quinto die Novembris 
Anno Regni Regis Caroli secundi 
Tricesimo primo. mdclxxix. 


No. 12 
Queen Anne's Lease to John Scorer, 1704 


Cestria. Dimissio REGINA omnibus ad quos etc. salutem. Sciatis quod 
facta Johanni nos tarn pro et in consideracione reddituum et conven- 
Scorer generoso cionum inferius mencionatorum et expressorum ex 
in fiducia pro parte dilecti subditi nostri Johannis Scorer generosi 
Johanne Glegg executorum et assignatorum suorum reddendorum et 
filio Edwardi performandorum quam per avisamentum predilecti et 
Glegg de Hun- perquamfidelis Consiliarii nostri Sidney Domini Godol- 
dredo de Wirehall phin summi Thesaurarii nostri Anglic ac dilecti et 
cumpertinentiisin fidelis Consiliarii nostri Henrici Boyle armigeri Can- 
comitatu predicto cellarii et Subthesaurarii Curie Scaccarii nostri Tradi- 
habendum a festo dimus concessimus et ad firmam dimisimus ac per 
Annunciacionis presentes pro nobis heredibus et successoribus nostris 
beate Marie Vir- tradimus concedimus et ad firmam dimittimus prefato 
ginis 1710 pro Johanni Scorer (in fiducia pro Johanne Glegg filio 
termino xxv an- Edwardi Glegg generosi executoribus et assignatis 
norum reddendo suis) totum illud Hundredum de Wirehall \etc. as in 
per annum Lf last lease] Exceptis tamen semper [etc. as before] Que 
Viij d . premissa superius dimissa sic dimissa fuerunt Thome 

Dod generoso per literas patentes Domini nuper Regis 
Caroli Secundi [reciting them'] Habendum tenendum et gaudendum 
predictum Hundredum de Wirehall cum pertinentiis quibuscunque ac 
cetera omnia et singula premissa superius dimissa seu dimitti mencionata 
cum eorum pertinentiis universis (exceptis preexceptis) prefato Johanni 
Scorer executoribus administratoribus et assignatis suis (in fiducia pro 
dicto Johanne Glegg filio Edwardi Glegg executoribus et assignatis 
suis) a festo Annunciationis beate Marie Virginis quod erit in anno 
Domini millesimo septingentesimo decimo (quo tempore terminus in 
dictis leteris [sic] patentibus superius recitatus vel mencionatus ex- 
piraturus est) usque ad finem termini et pro et durante termino viginti et 
quinque annorum extunc proxime sequentium et plenarie complendorum 


et finiendorum. Reddendo et solvendo inde annuatim nobis heredibus 
et successoribus nostris annualem redditum sive summam quinquaginta 
et unius solidorum et octo denariorum legalis monete Anglie ad receptam 
Scaccarii nostri heredum et successorum nostrorum Westmonasterii seu 
ad manum receptoris nostri premissorum pro tempore existentis ad 
festa sancti Michaelis Archangel! et Annunciationis beate Marie 
Virginis per equales porciones durante toto termino superius concesso 
Ac predictus Johannes Scorer pro se heredibus executoribus admini- 
stratoribus et assignatis suis convenit et concedit [etc. as before]. 

Quodque si aliquo tempore imposterum durante residue termini 
adhuc venturi in dictis leteris \sic\ patentibus domini nuper Regis 
Caroli secundi superius mencionati apparebit quod aliquis alius vel 
aliqui alii (preter prefatus Johannes [stc] Scorer prout executorem 
ultimi voluntatis et testamenti Edwardi Glegg superius nominati) habe 
vel habent aliquod ius sive titulum ad medietatem seu aliam partem 
premissorum virtute alicujus assignacionis sub dictis literis patentibus 
superius mencionatis quod tune prefatus Johannes Scorer executores 
administratores vel assignati sui super demanda assignabit vel assig- 
nabunt tali persone sive personis similem partem premissorum pro 
termino superius per presentes concesso tali persona sive personis 
solventibus ratam et proportionem suam feodorum et expensarum per 
prefatam Johannem Scorer erogatorum et expenditorum in obtencione 
harum literarum nostrarum patentium et proporcionem suam redditus 
superius reservati et performando convenciones in eisdem contentas 
Proviso tamen semper quod si contigerit [etc.] In cujus rei etc. 



Examinatur per Antonium Anderson Clericum Pipe deputatum. 
John Scorer transcriptum. 

[Endorsed] Teste summo Thesaurario Anglie apud 
Westmonasterium duodecimo die 
Decembris anno regni Regine Anne 
tertio. 1704. 


No. 13 
George II.'s Lease to John Glegg, 1734 


County Palatine THE King to all to whom etc. Greeting. Know yee 
of Chester. A that wee as well for and in Consideration of the yearly 
demise to John rent in and by these presents reserved and of the pro- 
Glegg Esquire of viso's and agreements herein conteyned, As also by and 
the Custody of with the advice of our Right trusty and well beloved 
the Hundred of Councellor Sir Robert Walpole Knight of the most 
Wirehall in the noble order of the Garter first Commissioner of our 
said County and Treasury of Great Britain and Chancellor and under 
of the Courts and Treasurer of our Exchequer and of our trusty and well 
other perquisites beloved George Dodington Esquire Sir George Oxenden 
there To hold Baronet William Clayton Esquire and Sir William 
from Lady Day Yonge Knight of the Bath and Baronet Comissioners 
one thousand of our said Treasury Have Demised Granted and to 
seven hundred farm letten and by these presents for our Self our heirs 
and thirty five for and successors Do Demise Grant and to farm lett unto 
twenty nine years John Gegg [sic] Esquire The farm or Custody of all 
at the yearly rent that our hundred of Wirehall with its rights members 
of fifty one shil- and appurtenances whatsoever in our County Palatine 
lings and eight of Chester and all those Certainties or certain yearly 
pence. rents to the said Hundred or to us in right of the said 

Hundred payable belonging or apperteyning And also 
all and all manner of Courts Leet Views of Frank pledge together with 
the perquisites and profits of the same And also all fines and amercia- 
ments made sett or imposed in the Courts of Sheriffs Turn and Hundred 
Court within the said Hundred and suit to the said Court or Courts 
And also all Releifs Eschaeats Law Dayes Courts Assises of Bread and 
Wine Beer and Ale Waifes Estrays Goods and Chattels of Felons and 
Fugitives Felons of themselves persons put or to be put in exigent and 
of persons Condemned or Outlawed Tolls Customs Deodands Rights 
Jurisdictions priviledgesprofittsComodities Advantages and Emoluments 


whatsoever to the said Hundred belonging or in any wise apperteyn- 
ing Excepting nevertheless and always reserving to us our heirs and 
successors out of this our present Grant and Demise all Fines Issues 
and Amerciaments yearly and from time to time arising growing or 
renewing in any of our Court or Courts of Record (other than and 
beside the said Hundred Court) or before our Justices at the Assises 
Justices of the Peace or Clerk of the Market or any of them for the 
time being together with full and free liberty power and authority by 
our Officers or servants of leving and collecting all and every the said 
Fines Issues and Amerciaments from time to time within the Hundred 
aforesaid Which said Hundred and premisses hereby demised were lately 
demised to Peter Storer [sic] gentleman in trust for the said John Glegg 
his Executors and assignes by Letters Patent of her late Majesty Queen 
Anne under the Seal of her Exchequer bearing Date at Westminster 
the twelfth day of December in the third year of her reigne To Hold 
(except as in the said Letters Patent were excepted) to the said Peter 
Storer his Executors Administrators and assignes in trust as aforesaid 
from the Feast of the Anunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the 
year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ten for the term of 
twenty five years from thence next following and fully to be compleat 
and ended at and under the yearly rent of fifty one shillings and 
eightpence as in and by the said Letters Patent or the Inrollment 
thereof may more fully and at large appear To have hold and enjoy 
the said Hundred of Wirehall and all and singular the premisses in and 
by these presents granted and Demised or meant mentioned or in- 
tended to be granted and Demised with their and every of their Rights 
members and appurtenances whatsoever (except as herein is before 
excepted) unto the said John Glegg his Executors Administrators 
and assignes for during and untill the full end Term and Time of 
twenty nine years to Comence and be computed from the twenty fifth 
day of March which will be in the year of our Lord one thousand seven 
hundred and thirty five (at which time the said Term of twenty five 
years granted to the said Peter Storer in trust as aforesaid will end 
and expire) and from thence forth next following and fully to be com- 
pleat and ended Rendering and paying therefore yearly to us our heirs 



and successors the yearly rent or sum of Fifty one shillings and eight 
pence of lawfull money of Great Britain as hath been heretofore re- 
served and paid for and out of the said premisses the said rent to be 
paid at the Receipt of our Exchequer at Westminster or to the handes 
of our Receiver of the said premisses for the time being at or upon the 
Feasts or Feast days of Saint Michael the Archangel and the Anuncia- 
tion of the Blessed Virgin Mary in every year by even and equall half 
yearly portions or payments during the said whole term of twenty nine 
years in and by these presents granted as aforesaid the first payment 
thereof to begin and be made at or upon the said Feast of Saint 
[Michael] the Archangel in the said year One thousand seven hundred 
and thirty five And the said John Glegg for himself his Heirs Executors 
Administrators and Assignes Doth Covenant promise grant and agree 
to and with us our heirs and successors by these presents that he they 
or some or one of them within the space of three years next after the 
commencement of the said Term hereby granted and so afterwards in 
every seventh year during the said whole Term shall and will make and 
deliver or cause and procure to be made and delivered to our Auditor 
of the said County Palatine of Chester or his sufficient Deputy for the 
time being a True and perfect extract Rentale or particular of all the 
Rents and profits of the said Hundred and premisses fairly ingrossed 
in Parchment to remain for our future Service and Benefit Conteyning 
as well the Names of all the several towns villages and hamletts of and 
within the Libertyes and Franchises of the said Hundred as the names 
and places [of] abode of all the severall Tenants Inhabitants and persons 
within the said Hundred by or from whom the said rents and profits 
and every of them are may or shall be paid or shall or may from time 
to time severally become due or payable to the said John Glegg his 
executors administrators and assignes by vertue of these presents or 
anything herein conteyned Provided always that all and every assigne- 
ment and assignements which shall or may at any time hereafter be 
made of these our Letters Patent or of the said premisses herein and 
hereby granted and Demised shall be inrolled before our Auditor of the 
said County Palatine of Chester for the time being within the space of 
six months next following after the Date of every such assignment 


respectively or therewise [stc] for want or on default of such Inrollment 
every such assignement shall be void or of no effect Provided also that 
if the said yearly Rent or Sum of fifty one shillings and eight pence in 
and by these presents reserved as aforesaid or any part thereof shall 
happen to be in arrear and unpaid by and During the Space of sixty 
Dayes next after either or any of the said Feasts or Feast Dayes at or 
upon which the same ought to be paid as aforesaid or if these our Letters 
Patent shall not be inrolled before our said Auditor of the County 
aforesaid and a minute or Docquett thereof entred in the Office of our 
Surveyor Generall of our Land Revenue for the time being within the 
Space of six months next ensuing the date of these presents that then 
and from thenceforth in any such case respectively or on any such Default 
this our present Grant and Demise shall and may be and be accounted 
null void and of no force or effect Any thing in these presents Contained 
to the contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding. In witness etc. 


Examined by Robt. Gardner Dep. Clerke of the Pipe. 

[Endorsed] Witness etc. at Westminster the third day 
of April in the Vij th year of the reign 
of King George the second. 1734. 

No. 14 
George II.'s Lease to John Glegg, 1759 


County Palatine GEORGE the Second by the Grace of God of Great 
of Chester. A Britain France and Ireland King Defender of the faith 
Demise to John and so forth To all to whom these our Letters Patent 
Glegg Esquire of shall come Greeting Know ye that we for and in 


all that Hundred Consideration of the Yearly Rent herein after reserved 
of IVirehall with and of the Covenants Conditions and Agreements 
its Rights Mem- herein contained And also by and with the Advice of 
bers and Appur- our dearly beloved Cousin and Councellor Thomas 
tenances and all Holies Duke of Newcastle, Knight of the most noble 
yearly Rents to Order of the Garter, and first Commissioner of our 
said Hundred be- Treasury of Great Britain, and of our trusty and well 
longing and other beloved Henry Bilson Legge Esquire Chancellor and 
the Premises and under Treasurer of our Exchequer, Robert Nugent 
Perquisites there- Esquire, William Earl of Besborough, and James 
unto appertain- Grenville Esquire Commissioners of our said Treasury 
ing in the County Have Demised Granted and to Farm letten and by 
aforesaid To these presents for ourself our Heirs and Successors 
Hold from the Do Demise Grant and to Farm let unto John Glegg 
Fifth Day of Esquire All that Hundred of Wirehall [etc. as in last 
April One Thou- lease] Excepting nevertheless and always reserving 
sand Seven Hun- [as before'} Which said Hundred and Premises are 
dred and Sixty Parcel of the Possessions of the Revenues of our 
Four for a term Crown of England and were Demised to John Glegg 
of Twenty five Esquire by us by our Letters Patent [reciting the last 
Years at the lease~\ To Have Hold and enjoy the said Hundred and 
yearly Rent of Premisses above mentioned with their and every of 
s. d. their Rights Members and Appurtenances whatsoever 
ij. xj. viij. (Except as before Excepted) to the said John Glegg 
his Executors Administrators and Assigns from the 
Fifth day of April which will come and be in the year of our Lord One 
Thousand Seven hundred and Sixty-four (when and at which Time 
according to the New Style or Method of Computation of Time now 
used the above Recited Term of Twenty nine years will end and 
expire) for during and untill the full end and Term of Twenty five 
Years from thenceforth next ensuing and fully to be compleat and 
ended Rendering and paying therefore Yearly and every Year to us 
our Heirs and Successors for and out of the said Demised Premises 
the Yearly Rent or Sum of Fifty one shillings and Eight Pence of law- 
ful money of Great Britain [etc. as before] And the said John Glegg for 


himself his Heirs Executors Administrators and assigns Doth covenant 
Promises grant and Agree [to deliver a Schedule, etc., as before and\ 
that he the said John Glegg his Executors Administrators or Assigns 
at the end or other Determination of the said Term shall and will 
Peaceably and quietly leave surrender and yield up the said hereby 
demised premises to us our Heirs and Successors. [Proviso for 
enrolment and in default of payment of rent, etc., as before'] In witness 
whereof we have caused these our Letters to be made Patent, Witness 
our above named right trusty and well beloved Commissioners of our 
Treasury aforesaid at Westminster the Thirtieth Day of March In the 
Thirty second year of our Reign One thousand seven hundred and 

fifty nine. 

To pass without fine. 
Ed. W. Woodcock deputy Clerk of the Pipe. 

[Endorsed] County Palatine of Chester. 

A demise to John Glegg Esquire. 
Dated 3<Dth March 1759. 

No. 15 
Assignment of the Hundred of Wirral to John Glegg, 1768 


Assignment from INDENTURE made the 6th August 1768 between 
Frances Glegg Frances Glegg of Great Neston in the County of Cheshire 
widow to John widow and relict of John Glegg late of Great Neston 
Glegg Esquire of Esquire deceased of the one part and John Glegg of 
the Hundred of Irby in the said County Esquire, son and heir of the 
Wirehall with the said John Glegg on the other part [Reciting the lease 
appurtenances. 0/1 759, the death of John Glegg and probate of his 


will, and agreement to assign. ASSIGNMENT in consideration 
of i os. of All the Hundred of Wirehall etc. with usual Covenants 
and indemnity], 



Signed, sealed and delivered in the presence of : 

Edward Wrench. 
Sarah Wrench. 
Inrolled 9th November 1768. 

No. 16 
George III.'s Lease to John Glegg, 1786 


County Palatine GEORGE the Third by the Grace of God of Great 
of Chester. A Britain France and Ireland King Defender of the faith 
Demise to John and so forth To all to whom these our Letters Patent 
Glegg Esquire of shall come Greeting Know ye that we for and in con- 
the Hundred of sideration of the Yearly Rent hereinafter reserved and 
Wirehall with its of the Covenants Conditions and Agreements herein 
rights, members contained and also by and with the advice of our right 
and appurten- trusty and well beloved William Pitt First Commissioner 
ances in the said of our Treasury of Great Britain and Chancellor and 
County Palatine Undertreasurer of our Exchequer and of our trusty 
To hold for a Re- and well beloved John Buller Senior James Graham 
versionary Term Esquire (commonly called Marquis of Graham) Edward 
of 27 years Jrom James Eliot and John Aubrey Esquires Commissioners 
the $th day of of our said Treasury Have Demised Granted and to 
April 1789 At Farm Letten And by these presents for Ourself our 
the yearly rent of Heirs and Successors Do Demise Grant and to Farm 
2, us, Sd. To Lett unto our beloved subject John Glegg of Neston in 
pass without Fine, our County of Chester Esquire All that the Hundred 
of Wirehall \etc. From this point onwards this Lease 
is, mutatis mutandis, the same as the last.] To have hold and enjoy 


the said Hundred and all and singular other the premises hereinbefore 
mentioned to be hereby demised with their and every of their rights 
members and appurtenances (except as hereinbefore is mentioned to be 
excepted) unto the said John Glegg his Executors Administrators and 
Assigns from the Fifth day of April which will be in the year of our 
Lord One Thousand seven hundred and eighty nine (at which time the 
said term of Twenty five years in and by the said recited Letters Patent 
of our said late royal Progenitor Granted of and in the same premises 
will end and expire) for and during and unto the full End and Term of 
Twenty seven years in reversion from thenceforth next ensuing and fully 
to be complete and ended Rendering and paying therefore [2, us. 8d. 
etc. as before.] And the said John Glegg for himself his heirs Exe- 
cutors and Administrators doth covenant [etc. with the same clauses as 
before^ In Witness whereof We have caused these our Letters to be 
made patent. Witness our above named right trusty and well beloved 
Commissioners of our Treasury aforesaid at Westminster the eighth day 
of April in the Twenty sixth year of our Reign One thousand seven 
hundred and eighty six. 




No. 17 

The Crown Grant of the Hundred of Wirral to John 
Williams, 1820 


By the Commissioners of His Majesty's Woods, Forests and Land 

THESE are to certify that in pursuance of a Warrant from the Right 
Honourable the Commissioners of His Majesty's Treasury of the United 
Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, bearing date the 8th. day of 
February 1820, William Dacres Adams and Henry Dawkins Esqrs., 
two of the Commissioners of His Majesty's Woods Forests and Land 
Revenues for and on behalf of the King's Most Excellent Majesty, have 


contracted and agreed with John Williams of Liverpool in the County 
of Lancaster Esquire, for the sale to the said John Williams of ALL that 
the Hundred of Wirehall with its rights members and appurtenances 
whatsoever, in the County Palatine of Chester and all those certainties 
or certain yearly rents to the said Hundred, or to His Majesty in right 
of the said Hundred, belonging or appertaining; And also all and all 
manner of Courts Leet, Views of Frankplege, together with the per- 
quisites and profits of the same ; And also all fines or amerciaments 
made set or imposed in the Courts of Sheriffs Turn and Hundred 
Court within the said Hundred, and Suit to the said Court or Courts, 
and also all reliefs, escheats, law days, Courts, Assizes of Bread and 
Wine Beer and Ale, Treasure Trove, Waifs, Wrecks, Estrays, Goods 
and Chattels of Felons, Fugitives, Felons of themselves, persons put 
or about to be put in exigent, and of persons condemned or outlawed, 
Tolls, Customs, Deodands, Royal Fish, Rights, Jurisdictions, Privileges, 
Profits, Commodities, Advantages and Emoluments whatsoever, to the 
said Hundred belonging, or in any wise appertaining And the reversion 
and reversions, remainder and remainders, of all and singular the said 
premises and every part and parcel thereof, (a) Excepting nevertheless 
and always reserving to His Majesty his heirs and Successors all Fines 
Issues and Amerciaments yearly and from time to time arising growing 
or renewing in any Court or Courts of Record (other than and beside 
the said Hundred Court) or before the Justices at the Assizes Justices 
of the Peace or Clerk of the Market or any of them for the time being 
together with full and free liberty power and authority by His Majesty's 
Officers or servants of levying and collecting all and every the said 
Fines Issues and Amerciaments from time to time within the Hundred 
aforesaid (b) Which said Hundred and premises are parts of the posses- 
sions and land revenues of or belonging to the Crown within the survey 
of the Exchequer in England, and were last demised by His late 
Majesty King George III. by letters patent under the Seal of the Court 
of Exchequer bearing date the 8th. day of April 1786. to John Glegg 
of Neston in the County of Chester, Esquire, to hold, except as therein 
was excepted, for a then reversionary term of twenty-seven years from 
the 5th. April 1789 at a yearly or annual rent (c) of Two pounds eleven 


shillings and eight pence (d] payable as therein mentioned, which term 
expired on or about the 5th. day of April 1816, at or for the price or 
survey of Two hundred and thirty (e) pounds of lawful money of Great 
Britain to be paid by the said John Williams into the Bank of England, 
and carried to the account of the Commissioners of His Majesty's 
Treasury, and from and immediately after the payment of the said sum 
in manner aforesaid and the enrolment of this Certificate and the 
receipt for the said purchase money in the Office of the Auditor of the 
Land Revenue for the County aforesaid, and thenceforth for ever the 
said John Williams and his heirs and assigns shall be judged deemed 
and taken to be in the actual seisin and possession of the said premises 
so by him purchased and shall hold and enjoy the same peaceably and 
quietly and in as full and ample a manner to all intents and purposes 
as His Majesty, his heirs and successors might or could have held or 
enjoyed the same, (excepting as hereinbefore is excepted). By force 
and virtue of An Act of Parliament passed in the 56th. year of the 
reign of His Majesty King George the Third (Cap. 115) intituled 
An Act for ratifying the purchase of the Claremont Estate, and 
for settling the same as a Residence of Her Royal Highness 
the Princess Charlotte Augusta, and His Serene Highness Leopold 
George Frederick Prince of Cobourg of Saalfield. Given under the 
hands of the said Commissioners of His Majesty's Woods Forests and 
Land Revenues, the 8th. day of April 1820. 


Two of the Commissioners of His Majesty's 
Woods, Forests, and Land Revenues. 

Witness to the signing by the above named 
William Dacres Adams and Henry Dawkins. 


Secretary in the Land Revenue Department. 

(a) The words from (a) to (6) and from (c) to (d) are omitted from the copy in 
Mortimer's "History of Wirral." 
(e) .500 in Mortimer. 


Received the 8th. day of April 1820 of and from the above named 
John Williams the sum of Two hundred and thirty pounds of lawful 
money of Great Britain being the consideration money expressed in 
the above written certificate. 

Witness my hand 

For the Governor and Company of the Bank of England, 

T. TRIQUET, Cashier. 
230. o. o. 

Inrolled the loth, day of April 1820. 



ADAM, Henry, 166 

Adams, William Dacres, 199, 201 

Albany, Duchess of, 91 n 

Alcock, Elizabeth, 156 

Aleyn, William, 169 

Almore, Richard, 167 

Anderson, Antony, 191 

Arrow, 78 

Ashfield House, 82 

Ashley, Lord, 185, 187 

Aubrey, John, 198, 199 

BACKFORD, 57, 63 , 65, 77, 167 
Bacon, V.-C., 158 
Bailey, Mr. Justice, 97 
Bampton, 46 
Barker, John le, 56, 165 
Barton, Richard, 137 n 
Bates, Sir P. E., 127 
Baumvill, Robert, 42, 45, 165 
Bebington, 93, 96, 103, 113, 114 

Higher, 78 

Nether, 13, 141 

James, 65, 66, 68, 171, 172, 179 

John de, 45 n 

Richard, 65, 171 

Robert de, 40 

William, 167 

Bebynton (see Bebington) 
Beckett, Capt, 125 , 132 n 
Bell, 154 

Bell, Agnes, 108 

Benet, John, 166 

Benton, Richard de, 165 

Berch, William le, 31 

Bertles, Thos., 79 

Bessborough, Earl of, 196, 197 

Beston, Hugh, 95 

Bird, Henery, 79 

Birkenhead, 97, 102, 109, 112, 116, 118, 

119, 126, 127, 137 n 
Birkenhead Advertiser, 146 n 
Birkenhead and Chester Railway, 115 

Dock, 137 n 

Deborah, 77 

Edward, 77 

Frances, 77 

Prior of, n, 12, 94 

Ralph, 65 

Thomas, 77 

Birmingham, Court of, 85 
Black Horse Inn, 119 
Blacon, 94 
Bloreheath, 62 
Bolde, Richd., 57 

Thomas de, 47 n 
Bowland, John, 170 
Boyle, Henry, 190, 191 
Brescy, Roger de, 41 
Bridge Trafford, 70, 71, 181 
Brocklebank (T. & J.), 121-3 
Bromborough, 21, 137 n 

Pool, I37 



Bromburgh, William, 169 (see Brum- 


Brome, Roger, 166 
Broom, Margaret, 41 

Roger del, 42, 48, 165 

William del, 40, 41, 164 
Broome, Henry del, 166 
Broun, William le, 164 
Broune, Thomas, 56, 166 
Brown, John, 120 

Broxton, 9, 46 n, 57, 65, 162, 164, 165 
Brumburgh, Hugh de, 53, 165, 177 

John, 62 

Brunswick Road, 141 
Bruyn, Henry le, 41, 42, 43, 48, 164, 177 
Bryde, Robert, 167, 168 
Bucklow, 46 n, 76 n, 82,95, 100 n, 161, 

162, 163, 165, 173 
Bulkyleigh, Robert de, 26 
Buller, John, sen., 198 
Burghley, Baron, 180 
Burton, 64, I37 
Bushell, Christopher, 127-8, 130, 140 

CALDAY, John, 169 

Caldy, 72 n, 76, 78, 134 n, 137 

Hundred of, 134, 137 n 
Capenhurst, 78, 80, 165 
Capesthorne, 32 n 
Carnarvon Castle, 39 
Carter, John, 73, 74, 75, 173, 185 
Chaloner, John le, 166 

Richard le, 167 
Charlotte, Princess, 91, 201 
Chatterton, Ellen 155 
Chauntrell, William, 57 
Chester, 10, 46, 56, 137 

Abbot of, 21, 46 (see St. Werburgh) 

Castle, 45, 46, 48, 62, 95 

Fair, 128 

Port of, 45, 64 

Chesworth, Mr., 113 

Cholmondeley, 57 

Chorleton, Henry de, 39, 161, 162, 175, 


Church of Holy Cross, 137 
Claremont, 90, 91, 201 
Clark, Geo., senr., 118 
Clarke, Archdeacon, 96 
Clatterb ridge, 122-3, I2 4 
Clayton, William, 192, 195 
Clerc, Robert le, 45 n 
Clive, Lord, 91 n 
Clyf, Henry del, 166 
Cobourg, Prince of, 91, 201 
Coghull, Edmund de, 40 
Coleridge, Sir J. D., 154 
Coly, Henry, 37, 40, 42, 54, 162, 163, 165 

John, 45 n 

Richard, 54 

Thomas, 54, 165 
Commins, Dr., 145 
Congleton, 31 n 
Congreve, W. W., 137 n 
Connah's Quay, 137 n 
Conway, 45 

Cornifer, Matthew le, 56 
Croke, Ro., 189 
Cross, Thomas, 126 
Cristelton, Robert, 170 

DANSON, John, 172 

Danyers, Thomas, 175 

Davenport, 20, 32 n 

Dawkins, Henry, 199, 201 

Deane, Dr., 154 

Dee, i, 53, 64, 94, 95, 119, 132, 133, 137 , 


Deering, Sir Ed., 188, 189 
Delamere, iqn, 56 
Denbigh, 52, 75 
Denfrencluyt, 52 



Denhall, 64 
Denwall, John, 167 
Denys, Thomas, 40, 165 
Derby, Earl of, 46 
Dieulacres, 13 
Dobbin, Mr., 115 
Dod, Randle, 75, 173, 188 

Thomas, 75, 76, 173, 187, 189, 190 
Dodd, Catherine, 159 
Dodington, George, 192, 195 
Dokynton, John de, 48 
Doo, Hugh, 167, 168 
Dunham, 14 
Dunham Massy, 19 n 
Dutton, William, 159 
Dyffryn-clwyd, 52 
Dykynson, Henry, 167 

EASTHAM, 21, 57, 96, 132, 137 
Eddisbury, 27 n, 46 , 60, 65, 95, 164, 

165, 166, 169, 172, 178 n 
Edge, 75 
Edmondson, Whittaker, 117, 118, 131, 


Edward, Earl of Chester, 1 1 
Edwards, David, 89 
Egerton, Sir Philip, 103 
Egremont Ferry, 137 n 
Eliot, E. J., 198, 199 
Ernie, Sir J., 188, 189 
Errington, Richard, 137/2 
Essex, Earl of, 188 
Euyas, Philip, 161 

FAIRRIE, Wm., 59, 167, 168 

Fernyhough, 118 

Field, Thomas, 113, 116, 117 

Fisher, Canon, 143, 144 , 154, 155, 156 

Mr., 115 
Fleet Prison, 35, 36 

Fleetwood, Rev. Father, 147 

Flint, 35, 36, 52, 53, 57 

Fortescue, Sir John, 180 

Fox, John, 167 

Foxwist, Vivian, 40, 47 n, 55 

Fraunceys, David, 69 n 

Fullerton, Sir Jas., 71, 181, 182, 183, 184 

Furness, 45 

GAMLIN, Mrs., 98, 121 , 123 n, 126 n 
Gardner, Robert, 195 
Garner, Mrs. Ellen, 119 

Thomas, 118 

William, 97 

Gay ton, 61, 66, 72 n, 76, 134, 179 
Gelibrande, Thomas, 65, 171 
Gerard, Wm. Fitz, 14 
Glegg, Anne, 76 

Betty, 82 

Birkenhead, 80 n, 83, 174 

Deborah, 77 

Edward, 76, 77, 173, 190, 191 

Frances, 77, 197, 198 

Gilbert, 45 , 47 , 54 

Jane, 76 

John, 62, 66, 76, 77, 78, 82, 135, 

173, 174, 179. 190, I9 2 193. 194, 
195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 200 
John Baskervyle, 133, I37 
Thomas, 62, 65, 66 
Sir William, 76 
William, 72 n, 77 
Glendower, Owen, 52, 53 
Gloucester, Duke of, 46 
Godolphin, Sidney, 188, 189, 190, 191 
Goodfellow, John, 56, 165 
Goss, Alex. (Bishop), 138, 139, 144, 145, 

155, I56 
Grace, Robert, 106-114, 125, 126, 131, 

132, 134, 153 
Graham, Marquis of, 198 



Greasby, 80 n 
Great Crosshall St., 137 
Green Lane, 115 
Green, Margaret, 159 
Grenville, James, 196, 197 
Grosvenor, Robert le, 43 
Guilden Sutton, 9 
Guille, Nich., 184 

H ALTON, 19 n 

Harbord, Sir Charles, 72 

Hare, William, 56, 166 

Hargrave, 14 

Harper, Richard le, 166 

Harris, Edward, 184 

Hatherton, 31 

Hawarden, 52 

Hayne, John, 165 

Hazelwall, 53 

Hebson, John, 168 

Hemlingford, 85, 101 n, 130 n 

Heswall, 53 

Hill, 153 

Elizabeth, 79 
Hinderton, 112, 114, 127 
Hobson, John, 167 
Hodson, Elliott, 120 
Hog, John, 48 
Hogh, Thos. del, 45 , 65 
Holden, John de, 45 n 

Thomas, 57, 166 
Hole, Roger, 64, 170 
Holes, Roger, 57 
Holme, John de, 165 
Holyhead, 45 
Hooton, 64, 78, 116, 117, 132, 137 n 

William de, 41 
Hopedale, 52 

Hopkynsone, Robert, 45 n 
Houghton, James, 137 n 
Hoult, Joseph, 125 

Hutton, William, 85-87 
Hyde, Lawrence, 188, 189 
Mr., 79 

INDERWICK, Mr., 154 

Inglefield, ion 

Irby, 21,76, 77, Son, 197 

Ireland, 44, 45, 56 

Duke of, 46 
Islington, 141, 145 

Ithell, John ap, 65, 66, 68, 171, 172, 173, 

JACSON, Richard, 167 
Jankynson, Thomas, 166 
Jevansone, John, 57, 167 
John Scot, Earl of Chester, 1 1 
Jones, Jane, 105 
Sarah, 105 

KARSLAKE, Sir John, 154 
Kelly, Alex., 125 
Kesty (see Knysty) 
Kingsley, 56 
Knowesley, John de, 167 
Knysty, William, 62, 64, 170, 171 

LANCASTER, Duchy of, 153, 156, 157 

Henry of, 47 
Landican, 78, 79 
Launcelyn, Robert, 13, 14 n 

William, 14 n 
Leather, Joseph, 157, 158 
Ledsham, 78, 79 

Henry, 167 
Lee, Hamond de, 168 

Jane, 159 

Thomas del, 45 n, 165 



Legge, H. B., 196, 197 
Leighton, 137 n, 167 
Lichfield, Bishop of, 13 
Liscard, 78, 80, 109, 120, 137 n 
Litherland, Edmund, 63, 169 

Henry, 169 

John de, 45 n, 47 n, 49, 53 
Liverpool, 45, 60, 92, 97, 100, 106, 108, 
114, 120, 121, 133, 137, 138, 141, 151, 
156, 157, 159, 200 
Liverpool Chronicle, 126, 129 n 

Courier, 1337?, 138 , 147, 153, 154 

Daily Post, 13372 

Mercury, 88 
Low Hill, 122 
Lytel, John de, 165 

MACCLESFIELD, 26, 32 n, 46 n, ioo 

serjeanty of, 20 
Maddocks, Benjamin, 105 
Main waring, C. K., 137^ 

Thomas de, 54, 165 
Malpas, 20 

Manchester Ship Canal, 158 
Mara, forest of, 56 
March, Earl of, 45 
Martin, Baron, 122 
Martyn, William, 166 
Mascy (see Massy) 
Massey (see Massy) 
Massy, Alice, 7 1 

Hamo de, 14 , 45> 47 , 48, 53> 55 

Sir John, 14^,41,42,45, 48 

Thomas, 62, 65 

William, 7 1 

Sir William, 71, 72, 173 
Mather, Miss, 97 
Maycok, Thomas, 165 
Maykin, William, 44 
Mayzowsone, Thomas, 166 
M'Clelland, Mrs., 97 

M'Mahon, James, 120 
Meoles, Henry del, 162 

John del, 47 n, 53, 55 

William de, 45 n, 163 
Mersey, I, 94 n, 95, 119, 133, 158 

Dock Board, 119 
Mill Lane, 141 
Milles, Wm., 184 
Mobburley, Philip, 168 

Richard, 169 

Robert, 168 

Molyneux, Sir Thomas, 46 
Molynton, John de, 44 
Monks Ferry, 116 
Mondret, 10 
Montalt, Robert de, 15 
More, Robert, 60, 169, 178 
Moreton, 42, 48 

James, 157, 158, 159, 174 

Mrs., 108, 124, 125 n, 143, 144, 

Samuel Holland, 106, 107, 108-119, 

122-156 passim, 174 
Mortimer, Roger, 45 

Sir Thomas, 46 
Mortimer's History of Wirral, 92, 105, 

175, 201 n 

Moston, Richard de, 48 
Muir, Prof. Ramsay, 73 n 
Mulenex, John, 79 

NANTWICH, 31, 43 n, 46 n, 164, 169, 


Natone, Ja., 184 
Naylor, R. C., 1377* 
Ness, 78, 79 
Neston, 15, 64, 100, 104, 109, 117, 135, 

137 i 138, 141. 15. *5*> J 98, 200 
Neston (Great), 82, 99, 105, 109, 137 n, 

(Little), 14, 78, 79, I37 



Neuton, William de, 163 
Newcastle, Duke of, 196 
Northwich, 43 n, 46 n, 60, 165, 173 
Notes and Queries, 1 18 n 
Nugent, Robert, 196, 197 

O'DOWD, J., 133-7 
Offlow, 1307* 

Oldefield, Roger, 65, 170, 171 
Orleans, 91 n 
Ormeston, William, 170 
Orred, Major, I37 
Overpool, 137 n 
Oxenden, Sir George, 192 
Oxton, 122 

PARR, 65 

Partridge, William, 24 

Peacock, John, 93 #, 99, 100, 102, 104, 


Penzance, Lord, 154, 155 
Percy, Henry, 47 
Picton, 9 
Pied Bull Inn, 92 
Pillar, James, 201 
Pitt, William, 198, 199 
Poole, 13772, 1 66 
Poole family, 62 (see Pulle) 
Poole, Thos., senr., 65 
Potts & Co., 91 
Poulton, 13, 78, 137 n 
Praunson, John, 167 
Prenton, 78 
Prestlond, Richard de, 41, 42, 43, 44, 

164, 177 
Puddington, 41, 45, 48, 53, 62, 65, 71, 

78, 137 n 
Pugin, 137 

Pulle family (see Poole) 
James de, 47 , 55 

Pulle, Sir John de, 39, 45 , 47 n, 49, 

53, 55 

Robert de, 39, 161, 162 
Pulton, William, son of Thomas de, 164 

RABY, 127 

Radcot Bridge, 46 

Raket, Ranulph, 161, 175, 176 

Randle, Earl of Chester, 12, 14 

Meschines, Earl of Chester, 13 
Ranford, James, 79 

John, 79 

Rathbone, John, 55, 165, 168 
Ravenscroft, Henry de, 54 
Rayner, Joseph, 142 
Receiver of Wreck, 137 
Redhead, Dr., 93, 96, 98, 103, 104, 114 
Renton, William de, 163 
Rideresplace, 56 
Robison, Joseph, 79 
Rock Ferry, 93, 137 n 
Ross, David, 126 
Rossendale, 118 
Russell, Charles, 154 

ST. WERBURGH, Abbot of, n, 13, 21, 


Salghale wood, 56 
Salwhall, William, 168 
Saunders, Greenaway, 126 
Saynesbury, John de, 53, 59, 165, 167, 
168, 177 

Thomas de, 164 
Scorer, Jane, 76 

John, 76, 77, 173. io, iQi 
Seacombe, 92, 137 n 
Secome, Thos. de, 167 
Sefton, Earl of, 88, 89 
Shotwick, I37 
Shrewsbury, Earl of, 122 




Sill, Joseph, 120 
Smith, Egerton, 88 

Richard, 137 n 

Thomas, 112-114, IJ 7 
Smyth, John, 169 

Ralph, 1 68 

Richard le, 45 n 
Southampton, Earl of, 185, 187 
Spencer, Samuel, 105-107, 109, 140 , 


Springfield, 142 

Stanay, David de, 40, 45 , 163, 164 
Stanley, 21 

Sir Thos. (Lord), 60, 62, 63, 90, 169, 

Sir William de, 55 

William de, 41, 43, 45 , 47 , 53, 
62, 64 

junior, 49 

Stanyer, Charles, 159 
Starkey, Geoffrey, 60, 169, 178 
Stoke, 40, 40 n 
Storeton, 21 
Strawsen, Charles, 147 
Sutton, Adam de, 20 

Isabella, i8 

manor of, 21 

Richard de, 31 

Sir Richard, 18 n 

of Malpas, 20 
Swabey, Dr., 154 

Taillour, Henry, 170, 171 
Tarvin, 32 n 
Taylor, 118 

Dr. Stopford, 142, 155 
Thingwall, 8, 40 
Thorneton, Robert de, 167 
Thornton Hough, 122, 141, 143, 151 
Thurstaston, 8, 76, I37 
Tildesleigh, Thurstan de, 161 

Tildesley, John de, 40, 47 n 
Tollemache, Lord, 103 
Tommessone, Alex., 165 
Topplegh, 55 
Trafford, 9 

John, 66, 178 

Robert, 66, 69, 172, 178 

Thomas, 71 
junior, 71 

William, 70, 71, 73. 74, i?3, 181 
Tranemoele, Wm. de, 45 n, 47 n 
Tranmere, 76, 78, 79, 80, no, in, 120, 

133, 137 

Castle Hotel, 118, 120, 140 

Higher, 119 

Lower, 115 
Trevallin, 94 
Trevor, Richard, 94 

Sir Thos., 71, 181-4 
Triquet, T., 202 
Troutbeck, Sir W., 14 
Trull, Roger, 45 , 54, 165 
Turfmos, Wm., 45 n 
Tushingham, 55 
Twys, Simon del, 43 
Tyliat, John, 170, 171 
Tyttelegh, Nicholas de, 41 


VANBURGH, Sir John, 91 
Venables, 57 

Cuthbert, 68, 70, 73, 173, 179 

WALEY, Henry, 57, 166, 167, 168 

John de, 44 

Thomas de, 43, 54, 165, 177 
Waleys, Richard, 40 
Walker, Benjamin, 101 , 130 n 



Wallasey, 56, 57, 78, 79, 1377*, 165 
Walpole, Sir Robert, 192, 195 
Walter, Sir John, 71, 181-4 
Warburton, Peter, 95 
Warewyk, John de, 45 n 
Warwick Street, 141 
Wervin, 9 

West, Mr., Q.C., 154 
West Derby, 88 

Kirby, 137/2 

Westminster, Marquis of, 137 n 
Whitby, 137 n 
Whitmore, John de, 47 n, 54 

William, 62 

Whitoff, Thomas, 65, 170 
Whityngham, Thomas, 169 
Wich Malbank, 31 
Wickstead, William, 184 
Wilaston (see Wilaveston) 
Wilaveston, 8, 9, 13/2, 15 
Wilbraham, Richard, 172 
Wilbram, Wm. de, 45 , 165 
Willaston, 9, 127 

William Brown Street, 138, 141, 151 
Williams, John, 92-98, 103, 133, 134, 
174, 199, 200, 20 1, 202 

" Roger," 98, 103 

Samuel, 92, 97, 99, 100, 102-104, 

107, 174 
Wilson, John, 72 

Robert, 121-3, 125 
Windle Hill, 113 
Witlaf, 9 

Wolley, Geoffrey, 169, 170 
Woodbank, 78, 79 
Woodcock, E. W., 197 
Wood Street, 122, 123 
Woodward, James, 105 
Wrench, Edward, 198 

Sarah, 198 
Wrexham, 56 
Wylaboy, W., 165 
Wyswale, Robert de, 166 

YONGE, Sir Wm., 192 


AFFEEROR, 6, 112-3 

Aise de prisone, 34 

Ale-taster, 117, 118, 140 

Amercement, 5, 6, 13, 30, 37, 72, 175 

Approvers, 22, 24, 37, 39, 63, 161 

Array, 55, 65 

Assize of bread and ale, 5, 12, 30, 79, 

118, 180, 182, 185, 192, 200 
Attainder, 30, 96, 123 
Auditor, 72-3, 184 
Augmentation Court, 68 
Office, 68 

BAIL, 34, 35, 36 
Bailiff, 23, 54, 69 

errant, 69 n 
Baronial Serjeants, 21 
Bedell, 17-24, 26, 27, 31, 33, 37, 54, 69, 

161, et seq, 
Bedelry, issues of, 33, 175 

rents of, 37, 38, 56, 161 et seq. 

Caput lupinum, 43 

Caveat, 146, 152 

Commissions (Special), 40, 41, 45, 49, 

54, 59, 64, 65, 95 
Compensation, claims for, 131-2 
Compositions, 30 
Conservators of peace, 47, 53 
Contempt of Court, in, 125, 126, 127 
Coroner, 31, 57, 96 
Court-house, 104, 122, 124, 125 
leet (see Leet) 

Court roll, 78, 80 

Courts, origin of, 2 (see Hundred Court) 

County Court, 3, 10, 13, 14, 15, 58, 176 

Acts, 103, 130 
Criminal jurisdiction, 4, 5, 17, 31, 109 

DEODANDS, 32, 94 , 180, 182, 185, 192, 


Dinners at court, 125 
Distringas, 101 
Domesday, 10, 12 

ECCLESIASTICS, attendance of, 1 1 
Ecclesiastical suits, 1 1 
Encroachment, 5, 113, 115 
Enrolment of leases, 42, 53, 67 (see 

App. II.) 
Escheator, 22, 57 
Escheats, 30, 48, 180, 182, 185, 192, 


Essoynes, 6, 72 

Estrays, 32, 44, 180, 182, 185, 192, 200 
Estreats, 63 n 

Exchequer (Chester), 22, 41 
Execution, 102 
Eyre, 16, 57, 58 

FARMING, laws as to, 25 

system of, 22-26, 175 
Fees, 36, 60, 72, 101, 119 
Felons' goods, 30, 43, 56, 98, 122, 123 
180, 182, 185, 192, 200 (see Waifs) 



Field-ale, 27 n 

Filctale, 27 n 

Fir ma unius noctis, 1 9 n 

Fines, 5, 26, 30, 33, 63 n, 96, 111-115, 

167, 176 

Flotsam and jetsam, 93, 94 n 
Foreshore, 119, 158 
Forest charter, 20 n 

eyres, 16 

Serjeants, 21 
Forestalling, 49 
Franchises, royal, 3, 90, 91 
Freeman-silver, 34, 63 n 
Fulcenale, 27 

GHOST, Moreton's, 148-9 
Grand inquest, 58 

serjeant, 17, 20, 21, 31 
Gives tv a, 19 n 

HEIR-AT-LAW, 153, 156, 157 

High bailiff, 109 

Hue and cry, 49-51 

Hundred, origin and meaning, 2-3 

liabilities, 49-51 

officers, 4, 22, 29, 161 

meeting-place, 2, 8 

man, 4, 9 
Hundred Court 

abolition, 129-132 

abuses, 24, 29, 84-89, 96, 101, 

costs, 72, 84, 101, 119 

decline, 4 n, 7, 28, 47, 61, 84, 96 

in A.-S. times, 3 

in nineteenth century, 84 

jurisdiction, 4, 5, 17, 31, 82, 98, 
loo, 109, no 

Hundred Court (continued) 

limit of jurisdiction, 4, 7, 84, 100, 

101 n, 120 
origin, 2 
profits, 3, 4, 6, 22, 30-33, 36, 70, 

102, 131 
sale, 10, 89-92, 106, 107, 157, 174, 

sittings, 6, 8, 10, 104, 109, 112, 118, 

119, 120, 125, 127 
specimens of cases, 120 


JUDGERS, 5, 14, 15, 63 n, 167, 171 

Jurisdiction (see Hundred Court) 

Jury, 6, 48, 54, 58, 61, 78, 85,95, 112, 

114, 118, 127 (see Judgers) 
Justices, itinerant, 57 

of peace, 7, 17, 28, 47, 61, 70, 180, 
182, 185, 193, 200 

LAGAN, 94 n 

Law days, 180, 182, 185, 192, 200 

Leases (enrolled), 175 et seq. 

Leet, 46, 60, 78, 81, 109, 180, 182, 185, 

192, 200 

Liberties, 45, 95, 194 
Lords of Hundred, list of, 161 
Lordship of Hundred, 3 

MANOR-HOUSE, 122, 124, 147, 149, 151, 

153. 156 
Manors, list of lords of, 137 n 



Market, Clerk of, 70, 180, 182, 185, 193, 


Master-mason, 57 
Monasteries, dissolution of, 68 

NEXT-OF-KIN, 153, 156 
Notices to tenants, 147, 153 

OFFICERS, list of, 161 

Outlaws, 43, 48, 1 80, 182, 185, 192, 200 

PALATINE franchises, 67 

privileges, 47 
Pardon, form of, 62 
Pelf, 31,34,38, 163, 176 n 
Pillory, 30, 118 

Pipe, clerk of, 74, 187, 189, 191, 195, 197 
Presentment, 5, 18, 23, 40, 117, 176 
Prison suit, 34~3 6 , 3 8 , 5 6 > 6 3 , l6 3, l66 > 


Proclamations, 15 
Future, 18, 19, 26, 27, 33, 163, 175 

QUARTER Sessions, 7, 28, 58, 61 

RAILWAY, seizure of, 116 
Reeve, 4, 117, 131, 132 
Regrating, 49 

Reliefs, 30, 180, 182, 185, 192, 200 
Rents, 37, 64, 66, 72 (see App. I.) 
Rental of profits, 75, 184, 186, 193 
Replevin, 1001 

Requests, Courts of, 85, 103-4 

Riot damage, 50 

Royal fish, 91, 94, 95, 158, 200 

SCOTALE, 27 n 
Securitas pads, 63 n 
Serjeants of chamber, 26 

peace, 17-21, 23, 38, 163, 176 
Sheriffs accounts, 22, 37, 68, 175 

Act, 1887, 6 1 

Aid, 63 n 

Tourn, 4, 6, 28, 30, 60, 61, 63 , 64, 

178, 180, 182, 185, 192, 200 
Shire Court (see County Court) 
Sothale, 27 n 
Stallage, 32, 38, 163, 176 
Steward, 6, 15, 71, 72, 75, 88, 93 , 99, 

loo, 104, 109, no, 131, 132, 183 
Subsidies, 23, 54 
Suete de prisons (see Prison suit) 
Suit and service, 5, 6, n, 12, 13, 14, 
63 n, 79, 81, 101, 167, 171, 180, 182, 
185, 192, 200 

Summons, service of, 26, 27, 34, 176 
Sunday travelling, 51 
" Sweeten and pinch," 34 n 

TAXATOR (see Affeeror) 

Terra putura:, \gn 

Thiggyng, 27 

Third penny, 10 

Tolls, 1 80, 182, 185, 192, 200 

Townships, 3, 9, 78, 81 

Treasure-trove, 5, 63 , 91, 96, 132, 159, 

Trial of John Williams, 97 

will case, 154 
Tumbril, 30, 118 

2I 4 


VAGA (see Felons' goods) 
Vendor of bark, &c., 56 
felons' goods, 22, 39 
View of frankpledge, 4, 29, 30, 78, 80, 8 1, 
180, 182, 185, 192, 200 

WAIFS, 30, 33, 34, 36, 37, 161, 162, 166, 
175, 176, 180, 182, 185, 192, 200 (see 
Felons' goods) 

Wapentake (see Hundred) 

Wapentake Court (see Hundred Court) 

" Waping tax," 88 

War, effect of civil, 62-64 

IVara, 18 

Warlands, 1 8, 19, 27, 33 

Weaf, 79 

Will case, 1 38 et seq. 

Woods and forests, Commissioners of, 

90, 91, 199, 201 
Wreck, 63 , 91, 93, 94,94 , 119, 132-7, 



Edinburgh 6* London 


DA Stewart-Brown, Ronald 

670 The Wapentake of Wirral